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Akins enforces updated Austin ISD ID policy for high schools

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Akins enforces updated Austin ISD ID policy for high schools

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“Who are you?”

This is a question students have been hearing from administrators if they are seen walking down the halls without visibly wearing their ID badge. Requiring students to wear their ID badges is a major policy change at Akins, where students often didn’t even have one last year. The change was prompted by the campus lockdown that occurred last February, when an expelled student brought gun ammunition to campus.

The administration took advantage of the campus-wide student photography day to ensure every student had an opportunity to receive a photo ID. Administrators spent a week making announcements reminding students they had to wear it every day to school before issuing consequences for not wearing the badges.

“Safety trumps any new initiative we want to do,” Interim Principal Tina Salazar said.

The response to this new policy has varied among students. Some students said they understand the need for strict identification while others and said it is extreme and inconvenient.

Senior Labroderick Woods said he supports the new policy although sometimes he doesn’t like wearing his badge.

“We need to know who is coming in and out of our campus,” he said.

Junior Bella Edwards said she understands the new policy despite it being inconvenient. She said the new policy sometimes feels like one more thing administrators and teachers can hassle students about.

“They don’t have to be so rude upfront,” she said. “When you don’t have (an ID), it could be a little more on a person-to-person level.”

Currently, the punishment for not wearing an ID badge is automatic In-School Suspension (ISS). While

Other students have pointed out that some students don’t have anyone to call and bring the ID to school.

This isn’t about trying to burden (students) with something else. It is strictly about their safety.”

— Interim Principal Tina Salazar

Interim Principal Salazar said the administration is not trying to hassle students by implementing the new ID badge policy.

“This isn’t about trying to burden (students) with something else,” she said. “It is strictly about their safety.”

Salazar explained that wearing ID badges is just the first step in a district plan to improve overall student safety.

She said eventually the district wants to move toward having an electronic badge scanning system. In order to get on a bus you have to swipe your ID she said.“

“Safety trumps any new initiative we want to do,” Interim Principal Tina Salazar said.

Students held in In School Suspension can either pay for a replacement badge or call their parents to bring their badge from home or just sit for the rest of the day there.

Edwards said there needs to be more flexibility in allowing students to make mistakes in forgetting their ID badges without having to sit in ISS for the rest violation.

“What if you can’t have it, (because) you don’t have that extra $5 to get a new one,” she said.

Salazar said that safety is the number one priority. The district will soon be searching for ways to come up with the money to pay for these systems, she said. Some students have asked what would happen if the attacker is a currently enrolled student, Salazar said.

“If it’s a student here it’s a student here. There’s not much we can do about that,” she said.
Salazar said IDs are to help police and first responders know who is supposed to be on campus when emergency incidents happen.

Salazar said she believes that requiring ID badges being worn can help administrators to quickly identify former students who have been suspended but are found on campus.

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