Where’s Your Lanyard?

Maeve Bedenkop, Staff Writer

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A strong suggestion by the National School Board Association and discussions among the Barnstable School District Administration has helped implement a new system that makes safety a priority; it’s the first thing staff and students think of in the morning when they walk in with their lanyards, and the first thing any BHS visitors are paying attention to while they are presenting their licenses and getting their picture taken upon entry into the main lobby.

Between the new safety measures this year including the RAPTOR identification technology used to make picture labels of guests before they are allowed into the school, and the ALICE security system in place instead of the previous lockdown system, staff and student lanyards are the smallest part of the process, but the part that has caused the most gossip and gripe this first month of school.
The entire Barnstable school district from kindergarten schools to the high school, received color coded lanyards on the first day of school this year. Barnstable joined many other districts including Taunton and Brockton who have implemented the lanyard system as well, remarked BHS Principal Patrick Clark.

“I like that we are thinking about ways to keep people safe before things happen,” said Housemaster Hope Taylor.

After the Parkland massacre in Florida, the Department of Homeland Security called for schools to re-look at safety. Taylor said that after Parkland, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas said they wished they had better security measures before something happened.

“We are trying to take that step,” emphasized Taylor.

“Here on Cape Cod we can feel so isolated,” said Taylor, “but we can’t develop tunnel vision,” she continued, “We have to take precautions.”
Clark said, “Every youth having an adult they can go to, and knowing students by name, that is our best security.”

But it’s a big school. “The idea of the lanyards is to show that people belong,” explained Clark.

The research shows that if someone is intent on intruding the school’s security, it would be harder for them, and therefore make them less likely to follow through if it is obvious they don’t belong.

Both Taylor and Clark agreed that the lanyard system is working so far. Everyone who doesn’t have a lanyard stands out and Taylor said that staff are paying attention now more than ever to who is in the building. Along with the new RAPTOR technology that makes badges for visitors, the lanyards make it a lot easier to keep track of who is and who isn’t supposed to be in the building. Clark predicted that, in a few years, the lanyard system may be a state regulation.

BHS staff have always worn lanyards and picture IDs in the past, but for students this is a new change. The lanyard is one more thing to forget at home, or to loose, but without your ID you are hard pressed to get into the building in the morning.
“Housemasters are at all entrances to the school every morning so kids know we are taking this security seriously,” said Taylor.

The Housemasters are keeping track of everyone who forgets their lanyards and making sure the system is working and being well monitored. If a student forgets their lanyard, they go to their house office and are printed a pass for the day. A new lanyard is $5, and if a student forgets their lanyard three times, they receive a Saturday school, said Taylor.

When asked how the lanyard system is working so far, Clark responded that, “by in large it was a smooth opening to the school year. We have a very versatile staff and it is going well.”

Clark also said that he wanted to thank staff and students for taking the new changes, including the schedule, the security and the major library construction, in stride.

“The eighth graders came into the school looking to do the right thing and the seniors are setting a good example,” Clark said, “and that’s what makes the system work.”

“It’s new,” said Taylor, “Kids… that’s what they do, they fight against it, but they’ll get used to it.”

“I think it’s one piece that could make a big difference.”

Besides the initial complaining and newness of the lanyards, a student without his or her lanyard is now the exception not the norm, but there are still questions regarding to what extent the lanyards keep students safe. Junior Rebecca Dalton said that she understands that measures need to be taken to prove that BHS is safety conscious, but said that she “rather not have them because they won’t help in the case of the school shooting.” She also said that students should be allowed to wear their lanyards on their backpacks or their hips if they are visible.

As for changes to the system so far, senior class president Andrew Abraham changed the much complained over orange senior lanyards to white, and Taylor said that, going forward, seniors might get to design their own lanyards.

Senior James Lockwood sports his multicolor lanyard collection.