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Schools' right to ID enforcement legitimate

Nov. 9, 2004

By EDITORIAL STAFF

Controversy has struck in a Missouri high school with a new policy requiring students to wear identification badges. The badges are required to be used during school hours. School administrators say they are requiring students to wear them at all times for safety reasons.

Some parents have started to complain and protest the move as an infringement on their children's rights. One father went as far as withdrawing his two daughters from the school. He is upset the policy was adapted by school administrators not the school board.

Regardless of who implemented the policy, the editorial board feels no one's rights are being violated by simply having someone wear a badge throughout the school day. The school has the right to implement these measures for security.

The role of public schools is to not only educate the younger generation but to also provide them with a safe place during the day. This means taking measures administrators feel are necessary to keep the safe environment, whether it be hall passes to go the restroom or ID badges to identify students. Some Texas schools have taken similar measures to prevent strangers from visiting schools and they have worked.

This mandate doesn't suppress students' rights to free expression. Some students in Missouri have put stickers on their badges as a symbol of protest. According to a CNN article on cnn.com, the school board has allowed this as exercising of free speech. This is an example of how schools are not trying to provide conformity but merely look out for the well-being of those students. Public schools have grown so much that administrators may not have the same resources to recognize every face on campus. Providing identification is a means to do this. If a stranger trespasses on school grounds, an ID will distinguish him or her from the students.

Each school should look at this case on an individual basis but all schools should have the right to implement these policies in order to keep schools safe for students.

Editorial Vote 4-1