Lanyards: The Ultimate Security Solution?

By: Ryan Kendrick

Since Spring of 2015, Seton LaSalle High School has had a policy that requires students and teachers to wear a school-issued lanyard and photo ID. These school ID’s are intended to be worn to let students, faculty, and visitors be easily, quickly, visually identified by others, especially those outside of our direct school community. The issue is that visitors are now wearing stickers instead of lanyards, which are often placed on the coats and then taken off, or just not worn in general. Therefore, the individuals we would want to identify the most, the strangers; are the least easily identifiable. Students get in trouble for misplacing their lanyards while strange, unidentified adults can roam the halls without anyone batting an eye.
While the intention behind the lanyard / sticker policy is good, it is not serving its function. It is not increasing the visibility of potential threats that come into our school. Rather, it is creating a new opportunity to harass students for a currently pointless rule. In a school of approximately 500 employees and students, everyone knows everyone. The only time this is not the case is the beginning of the school year, and when lanyards and ID’s are not even present.
As stated earlier, the intent of the lanyards is understood. Vice-Principal Michael Joyce says “Having your ID is a big part of our school’s safety and security initiative. We want to be able to make sure that those people that we see at our school can be identified as school students, especially when we get, not so much faculty when we know who is everybody like I know everyone but other people in the building who may not be aware of who our students are.”
The problem is, ID’s should be protecting students from visitors, but it is not currently enforced that way. Students are punished for not wearing their ID and lanyards while visitors are not. Because of this, visitors are being more protected than students whose parents send $10,000 every year for their education. 
According to our Vice-Principal, Mr. Joyce, “If we see an adult that has not checked in and does not have the visitors badges, we ask them if they were in the main office and if they have not been we escort them down there to sign in and get proper identification. That’s one of the reasons why we switched the sign in location from the main office to the front entrance. We were having people that the guard at the front entrance was letting in but they weren’t necessarily stopping in the main office. Then what happens is we have diligent faculty on the second and third floor who see people doing their job, they see people without their badges and then get concerned about it. So the idea behind that is is to make sure every guest in the school has signed in and has proper identification.”

This picture was taken two weeks after that interview. Obviously our security is flawed.
While the lanyards are currently useless, there are ideas for the future. “What we would like to do with them [School ID] is make them almost like a college ID. There is a chip in your ID and everything is on that. You will swipe it to get access to the building, different parts of the building depending on your location. Depending on who you are, you can get your cafeteria pin in their and pull up your class schedule and things like that. We want it to be more than just a piece of plastic. We initially planned on doing it this year but had to push it back, but it will for sure happen in the next 5 years.” Mr. Joyce explains.
Everyone can agree that lanyards are a good idea when properly enforced. However, at this time, they are not. Lanyards are currently ineffective, and the new sticker policy continues to be flawed, even though people are ‘required’ to sign in at the front desk. Lanyards make no difference in security, and only create a new way to punish students.

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