Photo by: Dalton Spruce
IDs spark debate: purpose vs. plastic
January 14, 2019
The ends justify the means
No matter where we navigate ourselves around Bowie, they are never too far from us. Placed on the surface of tables, noisily clanking against their metal retainers, and being frantically tied to a lanyard before class, it seems impossible to escape from the new school IDs this year.
At the beginning of this school year, Bowie revamped its ID system, requiring everyone on campus to wear a school ID during school hours as an extra layer of security. This new change was met with several groans from students as they learned about the inconveniences of wearing a small plastic card during school hours. Many were inclined to voice their concerns against the principal for making them wear such hassling, annoying, pestering bits of plastic.
Here’s the thing – the new IDs really are just small, plastic cards. The abundance of students who think this new system is the end of the world for them need to reconsider their priorities. For one, the implementation of these IDs is the least oppressing thing the school could’ve done to increase security. Secondly, this shows that the school cares about and puts thought into our safety. Lastly, it’s possible that, in the future, these IDs could have other uses besides security.
Let me make this clear to some students – having to wear plastic cards will not make school a new purgatory. There are many other districts in Texas, such as NEISD, Cy-Fair ISD, and EISD, who have begun forcing their students purchase clear backpacks. Honestly, we should be thanking AISD for only going so far as to make us wear IDs when they could have opted for a more stringent method of security. I’m sure that those other students in Texas would much rather want the option of wearing an ID over having to wear transparent backpacks for the rest of the school year.
If AISD did absolutely nothing to increase security after the shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students were brutally massacred, should students really see that as a positive thing? Think about it this way: by applying the ID system to Bowie, it shows that AISD is looking out for our safety. They are demonstrating that they actually care about our well-being through the addition of school IDs. If AISD did absolutely nothing to increase security measures for their students, that would indicate a lack of concern for the prosperity of us students. It’s like a parent giving their kids a flu shot; sure, it might hurt a little at first, but in the long run, the purpose of the shot is to help the kid.
There’s a good chance these IDs could be used for other purposes than just security in the future. Schools all around the nation have already begun using their ID cards for several other uses, such as library passes, meal cards, and even as a way to take attendance in classes. Instead of filling in a Google survey each time a student visits the library, we could just swipe our IDs and get signed in. Instead of punching in a student number each time a student orders from the cafeteria, we could just swipe our IDs and pay that way. Instead of spending 10 minutes a class taking attendance, we could just… actually, let’s be honest. We all like that. In any case, IDs have a big potential when it come to things non-security related.
The next time we hear someone comment about how unfair and annoying it is to wear an ID, remember the kids who are forced to wear clear backpacks. Remember the fact that AISD is looking out for us. Remember that there’s a good chance these IDs don’t have to be used entirely for security. Remember that, ultimately, these IDs are just flat pieces of plastic, not the catalysts to the end of the world.
Security theater isn't security
It just baffles me. A group of individuals actually sat in a room and pressed local high schools to scramble for any security whatsoever – and this is the best they could do. According to the Austin Independent School District, school safety is as easy and affordable as wearable plastic.
The truth is that I don’t feel safe at Bowie High School. These IDs are examples of “security theater.” Without definitive research supporting the validity of the notion that these IDs will make students safer, it’s clear that most students are upset. The district and Bowie alike must continue to use its limited resources to push for more security measures that incorporate student feedback because the majority of the student body is feeling as if Bowie has implemented a shady and unproven system.
It’s not just about prior research, it’s about common sense. I don’t want an ID system that’s more focused on providing multiple services to students than it is protecting them. If Bowie wants to use IDs for the library or to check in for lunch, then these present their own issues and divert attention from what the purpose of these IDs are right now; to protect students. I highly doubt that the district has forgotten this, but I’m tired of hearing rumors about the IDs being used for miscellaneous purposes with nothing to show for it.
After each school shooting within the last 20 years, American high schools have scrambled to find alternative methods to meet parental and federal concerns for safety. For example, practicing lock-down drills at school was not always the norm, that only became mandatory after the Columbine shooting. But these IDs are unacceptable.
Say a student loses a pass. That student has to go to the office and get a temporary sticker – a “raptor pass” – to serve as a placeholder until a new, free ID is given to the student. This second ID is free, but if the student loses that pass, then he/she will need to fork up $5. If the student doesn’t have $5 or is on their third attempt, they don’t get to go to class and they receive in school suspension. This entire, needlessly complicated process is ridiculous. The National Education Association has stated that while they prefer security that’s backed by research, they have no quarrel with whatever system makes a school feel safer. There’s just one problem with this.
I don’t feel safe at Bowie and I’m not alone. Just because something is being done doesn’t mean it’s working. In fact, the illusion of safety is what could get some of us students killed someday. It’s easy to label people as whiny or petty when a few groans are heard after an announcement about the IDs from principal Mark Robinson, but I feel this dehumanizes us. These IDs are supposed to bring us together, not cause divisions. I’m for safety. The district is for safety. We should all listen to one another and seek to work to come to a conclusion which will benefit all students.
Locking certain doors, practicing drills, and informing students about what they can do to stay safe in the event of a shooting are all positive steps.
The clock is ticking. Let’s create an environment where faculty and students work together to explore new options beyond these IDs. Let’s show other schools in the district that we can create safety that takes into account Bowie’s unique campus. Let’s feel safe again.