Staff ID Cards Aim to Make Jericho Safer

By NICOLE DUKOFF

Starting at  the beginning of this school year, the Jericho High School district now requires that all staff members wear ID cards.  While these cards are not as high tech as other schools’ cards that contain monitoring devices, the cards are aimed at ensuring the safety of the Jericho community.

“It’s all about safety,” said Assistant Principal Dr. Artiles. “I think it’s simple but complicated at the same time, because when you’re walking in the halls you don’t always know who’s walking around you. I can’t always identify a sub or even a new teacher, so if you see anybody with the tag you know they work here. “

Superintendent  Mr. Henry Grishman explained how the new policy was decided. Jericho schools have a district wide safety committee, and over the past few years teachers and parents have requested that faculty wear ID badges. “We finally made the decision last spring that starting this school year we would have everyone wear name badges.”

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High school teachers wear their ID cards on lanyards or clipped to their clothing.

Science teacher, Mrs. Cancemi, is excited about the new ruling.  She said, “As somebody who has been here for a long time, there’s a lot of new people coming into the building that I don’t know and I want to make sure they belong here. So, having the IDs lets me know that the adults I see in the building actually belong in the building.”

Math teacher, Mrs. Harsche, agrees with Mrs. Cancemi, “I think it is helpful because we can identify the adults that are walking through the halls because you don’t always know everybody.”

Teachers on hall duty often have a difficult time identifying visitors. Mrs. Cancemi said, “On certain hall duties you see people you might not know and you have to ask who they are and what they’re doing here.  It can become uncomfortable. You feel terrible when you don’t know your own colleague but there are always new teachers.”  While on her hall duty, Mrs. Harsche has encountered numerous confused visitors who are not staff and who had to be directed to the security desk.

History teachers, Ms. Kakounis and Mrs. DiGangi enjoy wearing their ID cards because they like being able to identify the people in the building. Mrs. DiGangi also likes having the ID cards because she claims that she is “really bad with names.”

Principal Mrs. Joan Rosenberg said, “I think for a while many staff and parents had wanted people to be wearing these because it is such a huge complex and we have so many people that come and go. You don’t always know who they are, so people needed some form of identification.”

Mrs. Rosenberg explained that after nine a.m. the school has three doors that visitors can enter through. They are located by the high school attendance office, the middle school security desk, and the central office. The visitor must sign in and show proper identification, and is then given a temporary sticker that has the visitor’s name, the date, and the time he or she signed in. Anyone without an ID badge must have one of these visitor’s passes.

English teacher Mr. Darr believes that if the school is going to take identification seriously, everyone should be wearing ID cards. “We will know if there are adults in the building that shouldn’t be here, but also if there are kids in the building that shouldn’t be here,” he said.

Dr. Artiles feels the new plan ensures a sense of ease. “At the end of the day we all have to be conscious about our responsibilities. Your parents send you to us every single day in one piece, and they want you to go back in one piece. It’s about knowing who’s around, who’s here, who’s on hall duty for students to be able to identify teachers.  It makes me feel more comfortable,” he said.

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