Lanyards Landing at MHS
By: Jeffrey Pham
The beginning of the school year has brought much anticipation for all students for a multitude of reasons: clubs, sports, friends, or even just school in general. However, a subject that has been a popular topic of interest for most students are the new lanyards that have been issued this year.
At the forefront of this initiative to introduce lanyards was, none other than, our own principal: Mr. Barden. The idea of lanyards is not new, several schools have already started using them themselves; however, Methuen High School only has begun handing out lanyards recently. When asked if there had been any influence from other schools who have experimented with their own system of lanyards in the past, Mr. Barden explained that he had consulted with a team of principals from other schools and that, “Every principal is interested,” in their implementation.
The conversation about how schools can become safer and more organized has always existed for school administrators, faculty, parents, and students; issuing lanyards can be seen as a step towards this goal. From groups as high up as the administration level to even students who had participated in Generation Citizen, they all could agree on one thing: the current system of student ID cards were not sufficient. Students would be issued a card, but there was never any practical way to use them for their primary purpose, identifying students. Lanyards can be seen as a remedy to this problem. Unlike ID cards, lanyards make identifying students easier. Though lanyards won’t be a perfect solution, it is a step forward towards a safer and more organized school.
To students, the new lanyards may seem unnecessary, they are just a wearable form of the student IDs that not many students use anyway. Although that may seem like the case, the function that these new lanyards serve will prove invaluable to both teachers and students. For new and substitute teachers, lanyards make identifying students easier. For teachers and school officials, it makes the job of keeping the school as safe as possible much easier to manage. Instead of needing to scan for unfamiliar faces within the school, a simple lanyard tells them who belongs in the school and who does not.
In the future, lanyards may become more than just an identification card that students wear. Mr. Barden has also expressed his interest in a concept that would allow the lanyards to be scannable and connected to individual students Infinite Campus accounts. Doing so would allow students to scan into school instead of teachers needing to take attendance. If students went to extra help, clubs, or anywhere that was not listed on their schedule; they would be able to check-in to said place, making it much easier for parents/guardians, teachers, and school officials to keep track of them for both practical reasons and in case of an emergency. Having lanyards that were also scannable could also mean making something as simple as lunch lines more efficient by eliminating the need for students to input their code every time they wanted to buy lunch. Though these are only possibilities at the moment, future lanyards may be capable of these tasks and more.
The biggest problem that is to be expected from the introduction of lanyards into the school is that students will not use them at all. Mr. Barden says that he does not want there to be standoffs, or as he calls them “grudge matches,” between students and teachers over lanyard usage which would take away class time for students. With the idea of public safety becoming more and more prevalent within the public mindset, especially outside of school. “We’re building security and preparing for the workplace, every little thing we do in schools is about engagement now and preparation down the road,” says Mr. Barden, referencing the fact that many workplaces and public spaces are beginning to shift towards using lanyards as their benefits are realized while many others are already using lanyards and have already recognized the benefits of them.
While they may seem like an inconvenience now, the lanyards are here to stay for the long term. “The lanyard is a small step that will, hopefully, help us down the road,” Mr. Barden says, “School climate is important to me and I want a school that’s safe and where students have a say. If it makes anyone in this school feel safer, then I’m all for it.”