School ID badge policies have become more commonplace in recent years, with many schools choosing to make photo ID badges mandatory for both students and employees. Although school safety has always been top of mind for administrators, dangerous incidents have changed the way that safety is approached.
School ID badges are much more than just a way to identify or remember the names of students and teachers — although both of those things are important. Badges also strengthen the security of your school because when an ID badge program is in place, you can determine at a glance if a person belongs in the building. When a policy requires everyone entering the building to prominently display a photo ID, people who don’t belong there will immediately stand out.
If you haven’t implemented an ID badge program yet, it could be that you aren’t aware of the many benefits they offer. Or you might have heard some myths about badge programs that have made you think they’re not the right choice for your school. If that’s the case, let’s look at some common misconceptions about school ID badge programs:
1. Myth: An ID badge system is expensive to implement. Implementing an ID badge program does take planning and coordination, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. You’ll need to consider what type of card readers you’ll use, what type of technology you want in the badge, what will be included in the design and how/where it will be printed. If you are already using access-control technology, you can use compatible technology in your ID badges.
Outsourcing your badge printing can initially save you time, but if you’ll have a frequent need to print one-off badges, a badge printer can quickly pay for itself. Investing in a badge printer is often the best choice for schools, since students may need to replace lost ID badges and new students enrolling throughout the year will need to receive badges quickly.
2. Myth: ID badges have limited uses. Today’s ID badges do more than just provide a wearer’s name and photo. Technology has expanded their capabilities, so they can also be used to store important information such as a student’s medical information and emergency contact numbers, track attendance, regulate access to certain areas and provide access to school equipment like computers.
Badges equipped with smart-card encoding can be even more versatile, allowing students to use them as pre-paid cards to purchase items from the cafeteria and vending machines. This translates to faster-moving lines and eliminates the hassles of dealing with cash.
Cards also can be used for promotions with local merchants who want to provide student discounts on goods and services. This is a popular feature for high school badges.
3. Myth: Managing student and employee ID badge information is difficult. Schools must manage a tremendous amount of information about their students and employees, so it might seem like managing ID badges could add to the information overload. But managing ID badges is not only simple, it can help make some other aspects of information management easier.
For example, the same technology that allows students to use ID badges to check out equipment and store important medical information can also make it easier to locate your students and employees at all times. That can be critical in situations such as natural disasters or school lockdowns when you’re trying to quickly and accurately account for every individual.
Because ID badges are now completely automated, you can manage information via computer rather than through a time-consuming manual process.
4. Myth: ID badge policies are almost impossible to enforce. Enforcing a new ID badge policy always comes with a learning curve, but these policies are easier to enforce if there’s a clear plan that’s communicated to everyone before and during implementation. It’s important to start at the top, with administrators, to ensure complete buy-in and participation in the program; they’ll need to lead by example. You also want to communicate clearly to parents and students about the many benefits of the program and why you’re choosing to implement it.
As you put your program in place, it’s simple to build in rules that encourage compliance and enforcement. While initial badges can be distributed for free, charging to replace lost, damaged or forgotten badges is an effective way to curb the tendency for badges to go missing. If a badge is forgotten, you can also offer a temporary one-day badge that must be purchased as soon as the student enters the building.
Over time, as students and employees become accustomed to the new ID badge policy, it will become increasingly easy to enforce.
5. Myth: ID badges aren’t necessary. Regardless of the size of your school, ID badges are quickly becoming an essential item. They are affordable and effective, improve the safety of your campus and allow you to incentivize students to participate in school activities for points. They also foster positive self-esteem by encouraging students and staff to learn one another’s names, reducing the likelihood that students will feel left out or “invisible.”
Increase School Security and Spirit
In addition to all the benefits noted above, school ID badges are a great way to promote school spirit. They can be designed with the school’s colors, logo, mascot and more. That same theme can be carried into a customized lanyard that uses the school’s colors and has your school name or motto printed on it.
As you look at implementing your program, consider which accessories will be needed for the type of badge you choose. If you have questions about which types of badges are best for your school, or if you aren’t sure about which printing options to consider, contact us at 844-443-7467 or fill out our short online form. We’ll be happy to help.