A Piece of Plastic is an Expensive Piece of Plastic

The Problem With Penalizing Students Who Forget Their ID Cards

Rose, Columnist

If a 2” x 3.5” plastic identification card is a student’s access to enter campus, it’s entirely possible they are going to misplace the small item. And because, to enter La Serna’s campus, students are required to show identification, the potential for the staff to ask to see that ID is high. Students who have no ID face the consequence of having to purchase a new one for a fee of $5, regardless of whether or not the old card is sitting on their desk at home.

La Serna is renowned for overcharging their students for the unnecessary.  As if the price for a dance, a juice box and a school lunch all in one day is not enough to leave a student broke for the next week, the school adds the $5 charge, regardless if the students need the new identification card.  This inconvenience leads to the example that a student can have five, seven, or even fifty copies of their ID at home, yet security personnel requires them to buy a new one for not having it on them. The only choice students have is to suck up and pay the fee or go home.

This column isn’t meant to attack the school, although La Serna seems to be one of the most expensive schools in the district, with regard to students’ costs. It’s a call to ask for a change. A solution could be simple; replacement IDs could only be given to students who actually need them. A sticker ID could be written the same way volunteer badges are given to adults on campus. La Serna’s security already looks students up in the system, so it’s unrealistic to say they can’t copy a name and ID number onto a slip of paper. The ID cards and fees could still be given to students, but not on a first-time offense. Instead, there could be a penalty for forgetting your ID three times, or simply for just losing it. It would be highly beneficial. Here’s why.

Economically, our school is probably paying the money they’re charging their students to buy ID card blanks, better printers and ink. It’s a cycle, going round and round to supply students with pointless ID cards and fines. The school should be putting its money to better use, like developing our class programs to give students more career-based electives, driving school, or even lowering fees for dances and yearbooks.

Worse is the environmental issues the cards especially in excess. Most people don’t know what to do with their ID cards at the end of the year. It’s actually dangerous to recycle or toss identification in the trash. It gives easy access to scammers and identity thefts to find information, but regardless of whether it ends up in the trash or the recycling bin, it’s still bad for the environment. Not all plastic is recyclable. Some ID cards are made from recycled plastic; that’s a better change, but La Serna’s aren’t advertised as recyclable, at all.

There is a problem. La Serna relies on long lunch stickers and early dismissal stickers to allow students to leave campus early. Without photo identification, students could use each other’s temporary passes to leave, but it does not have to be that easy. Instead, students with their ID should receive priority and be allowed to leave first. Students with the sticker badge can line up with security so security could look up their schedule, view their photo, and excuse them directly.

Why do we want to keep paying the school for a mistake all teens make? Yes, the youth is being taught responsibility, but no, they don’t need to be punished by being forced to pay fees when many come from low-income homes or have to provide the money without their parent’s help. Students should be having fun outside of school. All of their money should not be going to the school to cover the cost of an ID card that isn’t necessary.