The adolescent years are key in identity development, and as schools continue finding ways to keep kids safe, such as requiring them to wear IDs and uniforms, are they also inhibiting students’ growth into adulthood? Psychologist Erik Erikson stated that identity “enables one to move with purpose and direction through life.” The life skills that schools are looking to instill in our youth are often compromised by the need protect them from violence. How can administrators allow students to develop as individuals while also protecting their well being at school?
Some schools have gotten creative with student IDs. As long as the ID photo is an accurate depiction of the student’s likeness, there is no reason why kids can’t express themselves. For example, a high school in Farmington Hills, Michigan has adopted a quirky tradition that allows kids to dress up in costumes for their ID pictures. Some students choose Harry Potter characters, while others throw it back to the 90s with iconic “Clueless” references. Regardless of each student’s take on humor, this tradition is both fun and safe! It empowers students to express themselves, to show their likes and hobbies, and also gives them a say in how they want to be identified.
Most schools have award programs for good grades, community service and good attendance. These types of awards can be turned into pins or badges that are attached to the student’s ID card or lanyard. Kids who are succeeding in the classroom, on the court and field, or in their community can be recognized by their teachers and fellow students. This empowers kids to keep working toward their goals and it gives them a strong sense of self each time they put their ID card on.
Schools can create award systems with color codes for A/B honor roll, A honor roll, creativity, sportsmanship, community service and more! These merits can be represented by small pins or stickers that attach to the student’s ID card. To go even further, they can be turned in for cash credits that purchase lunch, books, supplies and more. There are many ways that institutions can get creative and encourage students to wear their ID cards.
Libraries, zoos, art museums and other local establishments can also get on board by offering student discounts. This keeps kids interested in learning and experiencing what their community has to offer. Discovering one’s surroundings and world is also a key part of identity development. When students are encouraged to venture out, they’re given a sense of independence and self-esteem that is vital for transition into adulthood.
Student IDs can also aid in creating relationships with staff and classmates. Healthy social interaction should also be taught in schools, and is a large part of succeeding in the job force. Student IDs help kids to identify one another by name, and can provide an ice breaker for conversation. Creative and funny ID card photos are even better, because they allow each student to feel unique and memorable. Photo IDs can foster healthy social interaction in schools! This goes well beyond providing a bland picture that is only intended to improve safety on campus.
There are many ways to allow students to thrive and grow, while also keeping them safe. Read our recent posts about tracking student success with QR code badges and the 3 main types of ID cards to gain insight into some of the latest trends in student identification.