Students bypass ID-checking entry policy

Swasti Singhai, Final Focus Editor

As Amelia* walked on campus, realization dawned over her. 

She had forgotten her ID card. 

Hoping to avoid a visit to the office or a lengthy wait in the sign-in line, she resorted to pulling out one of the cards within her wallet. She clutched a Starbucks gift card, flashing it to the security guard as she walked through the front gate before school one day. Later that week, she ran into the same dilemma. This time, however, she didn’t have her wallet with her. She put up her hand, fast enough for the security guard to allow her to pass, unaware that her hand was bare. 

“Usually, right after I show my ID card, I put it in my pocket,” Amelia said. “Then I end up either leaving it in my car when I get back from school or it just stays in my pocket and I can’t find it for another week until I do my laundry.”

Amelia is far from alone in evading the ID card policy. Although infrequently, throughout the past two years, Liam* has used his bus pass, driver’s license, and a Target gift card as a replacement for his ID card. Similarly, other students have been able to use a debit or credit card. 

“All you have to do is hold up a vaguely yellow card as you’re walking in, especially if it’s behind wallet mesh,” Noah* said. “Now, the penalty for it is so harsh that you get written up in the office if you miss [bringing your ID] more than once. I don’t think people minded signing in last year, but [with the new policy] people are more willing to just try and sneak through.”

Assistant Principal Shannon Parker oversees campus security. Although the reasons for the student’s missing ID card is taken into consideration, Parker said the policy consists of multiple parts. The first time a student forgets their ID, they simply have to sign-in at the front office. With the second offense, Parker checks her list to meet with the student in-person. 

“In-person, I’ll tell them that if it happens again, they’ll need to walk up to the library and purchase another one,” Parker said. “I contact the parents the second or third time the ID is forgotten depending on the reason. By the fourth time, if it still hasn’t been taken care of, I just help get the student a new ID.”

If a student loses their ID after that, Parker said that students have to participate in after-school restitution for an hour after school to work on campus beautification.

“Beyond four, when it comes down to five, six, or seven times [of forgetting IDs], I’ve made a note of that,” Parker said. “When it comes time to purchase tickets for Prom or any school-wide events that students want to participate in, I will absolutely consider revoking.”

While Noah generally remembers to bring his ID card to school, he said that checking IDs becomes pointless when there’s little verification of its authenticity. 

“It makes it more inconvenient for everybody, students and the security guards, without really providing any benefits,” Noah said. “Either it should be enforced well or not enforced at all.”

Liam said he believes that the goal of having everyone enter through one area with an ID card is respectable, but hard to enforce. 

“The security guards are going through hundreds of students every single day,” Liam said. “They can’t afford more time for anything beyond a quick glance unless they want us to start lining up. What we have right now is just not even mediocre. There’s far too much pressure on our security staff to cover all the students, and things have slipped between the cracks.”

Although some students have entered with a counterfeit ID, Parker said the system is mostly effective. 

“The last thing we want is a system that isn’t serving its purpose, so we’ll slow things down at the gate more,” Parker said. “I won’t change the entire system because we have to distribute our human resources, but we can improve upon the current system for the small percentage [who disobey the policy].” 

Calin Marian has worked as a security guard at Westview for a little more than a year. Throughout this time, he’s found that it’s difficult to look at the names with the onslaught of students entering in the morning. Instead, he focuses on whether or not the student has an ID card. 

“If a student has someone else’s ID, it would be hard for us to catch that,” Marian said. “I’ve actually seen students [exchange cards] in front of me. I have also seen a lot of students who show me their ID, but it’s their driver’s license. So I’ve told them ‘That’s not your ID, it’s your driver’s license,’ and they tell me that they didn’t realize. They’re definitely trying [to get into school without an ID card].”

Marian said he believes that while the security system is probably not the best it can be, at the moment, they are doing all they can to ensure the safety of students. 

“I understand that students are forgetting their ID cards,” Marian said. “But signing in doesn’t cause anyone trouble. Many students are trying to go around the policy because they could get in trouble, but that happens after many times [of forgetting your ID card]. Maybe in the future we could have a card-scanner, so our [security guards] time could be spent elsewhere.”

Although the security system has its flaws, Liam said that ultimately, it was intended for the students’ protection. 

“The fact that I was able to get into school with a Target gift card in no way reflects the skill or dedication of our security staff,” Liam said. “They try very hard to do what they do, but they just have a lot of it to do. ”

In the future, Parker said that Westview plans on having additional proactive safety measures through a slight modification of the current ID card system. 

“We are hoping to eventually have digital sign-in to campus and ultimately digital sign-in for every class,” Parker said. “This would require every student to have their ID on them at all times. Once we get this in place, we will implement digital hall passes. It’ll be one step at a time – we’ll start with a few kiosks in key locations such as our attendance office for students who arrive late, and then we hope to phase into having kiosks at all gates for arrival and leaving campus.”

*Names changed