The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Should students be required to carry ID cards?

JOAN GAYLORD PHOTO

 District clerk Kimberly Monzon, Campus Congress member Jeremy Sabath, Peter Treyz and Peter Breslin.

 
By JOAN GAYLORD

 Whether John Jay High School students should carry ID cards remains a matter of debate at the Katonah-Lewisboro school board. The administration of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District has not yet completed the report requested by the board of education, but John Jay High School’s Campus Congress has already weighed in on the issue.

At the board of education meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 1, student representative Jeremy Sabath shared the position of the congress that detailed five reasons why Congress members would not support a possible new requirement for high school students to carry school ID cards at all times.

The topic arose from conversations that board member Charles Day shared recently with teachers at the high school. He said he had asked what the board of education could do to make the teachers’ jobs easier. Of the nine teachers he asked, Mr. Day said six of them liked the idea of having all students carry their IDs when they are at the school.

“That made it worth exploring,” said Mr. Day in a telephone interview after the meeting. “Kids can be disrespectful to the teachers.”

When a teacher intervenes in a situation at the school, he said the adults might not personally know each of the students involved. If they ask names, teachers said students are not always forthcoming. “They can feel impervious — just walk away,” said Mr. Day.

At his request, the board voted to ask the district’s administration to explore the idea and report back on the advisability of such a policy. Assistant superintendent Alice Cronin said she has begun asking neighboring districts if they have implemented similar policies and how they handle some of the issues that have been raised.

In an email, Ms. Cronin said she would be forwarding the information to district superintendent Dr. Paul Kreutzer to be discussed at a future board meeting. She said she was unsure at this time when the report would be finished.

However, Campus Congress did not wait. In a statement that he said reflected the sentiments of Campus Congress, John Jay High School’s student government, Jeremy read that the students opposed the proposed policy because it “brings no benefit to the students.”

Citing the suggestion that the practice would improve campus security, the congress disagreed and said any student’s name is “already easily discoverable.” And while the congress said insubordination to the degree that a student would not provide a name is rare at John Jay, such a mandate to carry ID cards would have to include a negative consequence for students who did not comply, creating “trouble” for administrators and students.

The statement from the congress also pointed out that the district code of conduct already requires students to identify themselves when asked by any faculty member. They did allow that they might support the proposal if it carried a benefit for the students such as making it easier to buy lunch or check out library books.

Though the board received the statement of the Campus Congress and entered it into the minutes of the meeting, board members said they are waiting on the report from the administration before discussing the issue further.

“I may vote against it,” said Mr. Day, “but I think we have to explore it.”



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DECEMBER 9, 2011