Identification cards issued to Fox Chapel students
Students at Fox Chapel Area high school are being asked to remember more than their homework when they come to class this year.
Each of the high school's 1,600 students were issued an identification card last week, implemented as a safety measure for the 2003 year.
The credit card-sized ID features the student's name, photo and year in school.
"We're not asking them to wear it at school, but to carry it with them," Principal Ken Williams said.
The card will be necessary to purchase student-priced tickets at athletic events and also for entrance to school-sponsored dances.
"I guess it's a good idea. It's kind of a hassle to remember though," said sophomore Erica Cohen.
As Cohen understands it, the photo cards will assist school and security officials during bomb scares or other threatening situations.
"We have to flash it if we're in the hallways so they know who is out of class," she said.
Last year, the high school was the target of three bomb scares in two months.
Williams said the cards could potentially be used for more than help with school safety. The district may expand the system so the tags would double as debit cards that could be used by students to purchase food or other items at the high school.
"It would be something where they could have money in an account and just swipe the card to buy lunch or pay library expenses," Williams said.
He was anticipating the debit system for as early as next school year.
Already, the cards are earning discounts for students when they shop at one of 10 local retailers like Panera Bread in Waterworks or the Strike Zone bowling alley in Sharpsburg.
"There are businesses listed on the back of the cards that will give discounts when the kids shop there and show their card," Williams said.
That privilege makes the card a little more tolerable for sophomores Julie Slavish and Kristin Patelunas, who were worried already that they would forget or lose their ID tags.
"The discounts are good," Slavish said.
"Losing it is bad," Patelunas said. "I heard you have to pay like $10 to have it replaced."
The district paid about $1 per card to issue the first round, Williams said. He said a nominal replacement fee will be paid by students if they lose their cards but he could not recall the amount they will be charged. High school staff also will be required to carry the identification cards at school and related functions.