Sun, Sept. 22

Editorial: Solution to Mingus’ ACLU challenge should not involve doing away with student ID badges

As is the case with any conflict, there is probably a middle ground that eases the concerns about Mingus Union High School’s student identification badges short of doing away with the badges altogether.

First and foremost, the badges clearly designate the student belongs on the campus of Mingus Union High School. With 1,200-plus students attending Mingus, it’s important to have a clear understanding of whether a young person on campus clearly is a student.

That’s no different than the policies of certain companies with hundreds, if not thousands, of employees who are required to wear badges that confirm they are part of the company. Again, such companies often have color or some other coding that distinguishes the department in which the employee works, and the areas of the workplace where they are and are not allowed. Many have to swipe their card just to be able to enter their place of work, or the department in which they are designated to work.

At Mingus, the red and gray coding on the badges – Mingus’ school colors – further make it clear about the difference in privileges for upper and under classmen, primarily the right to leave campus at designated times.

For Mingus, the problem with the coded badges, and the resulting involvement of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, deals with upper classmen who otherwise would be allowed to leave campus if not for their poor academic status. In other words, they need to be in class or study hall instead of being off campus with students who have otherwise earned the privilege.

The simple solution here might be one that is exactly that: simple. Perhaps color code the badges without reference to what year the student is in school and simply designate which students have off-campus or other similar privileges and those that do not. Already, it’s a clearly established policy that freshmen and sophomores at Mingus are not allowed to leave campus.

As for upper classmen whose academic pursuits fall short of having earned the privilege to leave campus, they need to understand this is that thing called “life.” Get used to it. Don’t be a victim over an inconvenience as trivial as the right to be off campus during school hours, or you’ll probably be playing the “victim” card your entire life.

There is a solution to this challenge facing Mingus from the ACLU, and it certainly does not have to be one in which the baby is tossed out with the bath water.

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