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Roanoke City Public Schools plans to enhance security with student ID badges starting next year

Roanoke, Virginia – Roanoke City Public Schools is exploring the implementation of student ID badges across its high schools starting next school year, following a successful pilot program at several lower educational levels.

The pilot program, which included Fallon Park Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Lucy Addison Middle School, and Noel C. Taylor Academy, demonstrated positive results, prompting school officials to consider expanding the initiative. The aim is to enhance security measures by allowing school administrators, security staff, and others to easily identify students and confirm their appropriate school placements. “Student IDs assist with easily identifying students in which school they attend. This allows administrators, school security officers staff and others to easily identify students and quickly determine who belongs at the school site,” explained Wesley Williams, Executive Director of Technology for Roanoke City Public Schools.

The proposed student ID badges would serve multiple functions beyond just security. They could be utilized for accessing various school-related services, such as the cafeteria and library, and attending school-sponsored events. Moreover, these badges would have practical use outside school premises, such as on city buses and in public libraries, further integrating educational resources with community facilities.

In an innovative step to ensure the safety of students using school transport, the district’s new bus provider, ZUM, will issue ID cards to students. These cards are designed to monitor attendance and ensure students are dropped off at correct locations. A representative from ZUM highlighted the importance of these IDs: “To ensure drivers have accurate information that a child is boarding the right bus and getting off at the right stop to prevent any student from getting lost.”

The move towards implementing student ID badges is partly inspired by actions taken by other school districts, such as Newport News Public Schools, which adopted a similar policy in response to safety concerns highlighted by incidents like the Richneck Elementary shooting.

Anticipating potential issues such as students forgetting or losing their badges, Williams shared a practical solution: “One answer other divisions have seen success with is providing the first card at no expense and providing additional cards at a nominal price.” This approach aims to alleviate concerns while maintaining the integrity of the ID system.

As this initiative is still in the proposal stage, further updates will be provided as decisions are finalized. Roanoke City Public Schools continues to engage with parents and the community to refine the details of this policy to ensure it meets the safety and functional needs of all students.

Donald Wolfe

Donald’s writings have appeared in HuffPost, Washington Examiner, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Virginian-Pilot, among other publications. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He is the Virginian Tribune's Publisher.

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