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Student IDs bear numbers for assistance

August 15, 2000

Student IDs bear numbers for assistance



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


Washington County students in grades kindergarten through 12 will receive identification cards containing student safety hotline numbers this school year.

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The cards will be wallet size and will have the student's name, Board of Education logo and the Youth Crisis and Safe Schools Tips hotline numbers, according to Donna Messina, the School Board's community relations specialist. Student pictures will not be on the ID cards.

The cards will mainly serve as a reference for students in an attempt to heighten school safety awareness.

The Youth Crisis Hotline, 1-800-422-0009, serves as an intervention resource for young people struggling with problems including suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and sexual abuse, loneliness, depression and relationship difficulties.

Students can use the Safe Schools Tip Hotline, 1-877-636-6332, to report rumors of violence, threats, students with weapons or anything else that can be harmful to students.

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"This is an effort to enhance and improve the safety of our school environment," Messina said. "It gives students an outlet where they can talk their problems through."

The ID cards are in response to a request from the state Department of Education to promote school safety.

Messina said the cards will be different than the photo ID cards mandated at South Hagerstown High School last fall. Students will carry the new ID cards in addition to the photo IDs.

At South Hagerstown, students must display their photo ID cards primarily as a way for school personnel to keep track of tardiness and to identify which students are in the building.

When students arrive late or leave early, they swipe the cards through a bar code reader. The computer prints a pass and records the entrance or exit, tracking how many minutes of school a student has missed. The computer shows a digital photograph when the card is scanned. A school employee monitors the station, reducing the chance of fraud.

"They're working really well," Principal Michael Shockey said. "When a building is being renovated, like ours, it's kind of hard to tell the difference between a 19-year-old construction worker and who is a student. Now it's pretty easy to tell who is who."

Drenna Reineck, principal at Bester Elementary School, thinks the countywide ID cards will send a positive message to students.

"The more we communicate with our kids the better," Reineck said. "It's helping our kids stay connected."

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