By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Sophomore Kahiry Parker pulled his wallet out from his back pocket. His school photo identification card — and not much else — was tucked inside, his name printed in bold, black letters under its laminated surface. Next year, the wallet won’t be so necessary, as Parker and fellow Clovis High School students will be required to wear the student identification cards around their necks, according to Clovis High School Principal Jody Balch.
This afternoon, a different kind of something hangs around Parker’s neck: A long necklace with a dollar sign in the middle. Grasping it in his hand, Parker said he doesn’t like the idea of wearing a name tag.
“I forget my jewelry sometimes. So, I will probably forget a name tag, too,” Parker said. “This is something they are making us do. I don’t like that.”
A lot of his classmates agree.
Reading a comic book on a patch of grass after school, sophomore Landon Dalley struggled to conjure up words to describe how wearing a name tag would make him feel.
“It would make me feel — I don’t know how to describe it. … I don’t think it’s right — the feeling of being tagged, I guess. If a teacher wants to know who you are, they should care enough to ask,” Dalley said.
Principal Balch said the school will require its students to wear name tags around their necks next year for security reasons. It will help school staff identify students, especially those who do not belong on campus, Balch said.
Individuals who do not belong on campus are occasionally found loitering outside high school buildings, Balch said.
“It is not uncommon for, say, someone who dropped out last week to come back to hang out with his or her friends. If they chose not to be part of our school, then we do not want them on our campus,” Balch said.
There are about 1,400 students enrolled at the high school. Staff know who attends the school, for the most part, but they are not always sure, Balch said. Having a student’s photo and name prominently displayed around his or her neck “versus in a pocket” is just an extra tool for teachers, the principal said.
Strings with easily detachable plastic hooks will be used for the name tags, Balch said. Clovis Schools Director of Operations Gene Beiker showed Balch one such model, Beiker and Balch said.
An actual order for the product has yet to be placed, said Clovis schools purchasing agent Brian Jones.