To Make Schools Safer, Maryland District Adopts Mandatory Student ID Program

La Plata, Ryon Elementary School and Hanson Middle School are participating in a program testing mandatory ID badges

Students at La Plata High School in Maryland will now be required to wear photo ID in a program meant to bolster school safety by monitoring who goes in and out.

The badges, each with a barcode, will help school officials identify who is supposed to be in the building and who is not.

La Plata began issuing badges on Monday, and starting Tuesday, all 1,150 students will be required to wear their IDs. The cards feature barcodes that can be scanned to buy lunch, check out library books, sign into school late or sign out for early dismissal.

In the future, the IDs could be used to identify students in an emergency 

"This is just another layer that we can add to our security," school safety director Jason Stoddard said. "There’s no one solution that's going to fix school security across the spectrum. However, the more layers that you can build in the better off we believe it will be."

La Plata, Ryon Elementary School and Hanson Middle School are participating in the pilot program, which is expected to be implemented throughout the 27,000-student district next year.

Temporary IDs will be issued to anyone who forgets or loses their card. It’s up to the principals to decide if students would face any repercussions, the school website says.

No specific incident prompted the new policy, but students told News4 of an earlier incident where a non-student came into the cafeteria and allegedly started a fight.

"It does make the school more secure," senior Michael Windsor said.

Some schools in Prince George's County give out student IDs that don't have barcodes. In D.C., students have a D.C. One Card that allows entry to schools and other government buildings. While other school districts in the region assign school ID cards to students, using the IDs to monitor attendance is a relatively new use of technology.

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