The Badges at Lafayette


Chance Howard

Several badges collected from students

The new badge rules are just one of the new policies implemented by the new administration at Lafayette. Policies such as needing a badge to enter the building, waiting in line for a new/temporary badge, and paying for a new badge, alongside the new dress code, are creating controversy, as many students have already formed their opinions. Views are very polarized; students hate the badges and don’t want to wear them or love them because they feel it is another way to express themselves.

I had the chance to speak with Dr. Orr to ask why he feels badges are an important part of school policy at Lafayette; he stated safety as the number one reason for the badges. “The primary thing is that it helps with safety. One is that we know from research that when people feel anonymous, their behavior is not likely to be within the norms that the culture approves”.
Cyberbullying online is just one piece of evidence of the truth of this claim. “But, If I know who you are, just knowing who you are [can] help you stay within the norms, and that makes for a safer school, and with 2500 students, that’s a pretty big deal.”, Orr stated.

Dr. Orr stated another positive reason for badges, “The other thing I would say has value to me is that it helps us know who should be and shouldn’t be here. [As] a principal before [in this district], I could tell if I had a student walking around who wasn’t a Dunbar student. So, these [badges] are another way for us to help make a positive identification of who shouldn’t be here”.
While the second reason may seem like common sense to students, the anonymity of students may not be a reason students commonly associate with badges.

I interviewed two students, Mateo Kai (sophomore) and Elijah Young (sophomore) to give their opinion on the badge policy at Lafayette: “I don’t think there should be a badge policy at all,” stated Mateo. “I understand the purpose for why we have them, but the whole process just makes the day more annoying and stressful.”

The “whole process” Mateo refers to would be the need to have a badge going into the building and a badge visible at all times to not be hassled in the hallway when a student doesn’t have the badge on.

Elijah shared a similar opinion, “Personally, I think that if they are going to enforce badges, they either need to strictly enforce them or not have them at all.” He then expressed why he thought badges were unnecessary for the whole school day, “We only need to wear them in the morning to enter the school, so what is the point in having them for the rest of the day?”.

The negative opinion of badges shared by some students is founded on real experiences that administrators may not realize they cause students to have.

I see badges as a necessary evil. I miss the freedom of being able to walk in the school and not be questioned about wearing one. They feel restrictive and uncomfortable, and they don’t look great either. However, I understand the reason and safety concerns of being without one. For now, we should accept these policies for what they are: an attempt to create a safer school environment for all students and to make things like checking out books, ordering lunch, and school check-in easier.