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Portland middle and high school students will now have to wear ID badges

Middle and high school students in Portland Public Schools will be required to wear ID badges this school year. It's part of an effort to make schools more secure.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Portland Public Schools students will see some changes this coming school year. Middle and high school students will be required to wear ID badges at all times.

Portland Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Margaret Calvert said because of the badges, staff will be able to quickly identify if someone doesn’t have a badge.

Once that happens, they can initiate a conversation to see if the person should be on a school campus or not.

“One of the benefits of having ID is if you see someone entering a school building that isn’t displaying ID,” Calvert said. “That would encourage someone to engage and do a proactive like, ‘welcome to the school how can I help you?’”

Officials said there wasn’t one specific event that led to their decision to institute badges. But this is not a recent change, it was actually first recommended in May by the Portland Public Schools Safety and Security Task Force.

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It hasn’t yet been decided how students will display those badges, but officials said they have looked at different ways to keep campuses secure since the pandemic.

"You know one of the things that, as we came back from the pandemic and being sort of away from school, is thinking about how we're welcoming people back onto campuses,” Calvert said. “Making a sense of community and being really clear about who's part of what community.”

Besides ID badges, Portland Public Schools will also add campus safety associates at middle schools this coming school year. Last year they were only present on high school campuses. Associates at high schools will now work more hours this year, and be present at schools until extracurriculars are finished in the evening.

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If students do forget a badge on a certain day, Calvert said there will not be harsh penalties. Instead, a staff member will make sure they’re identified and potentially give them a temporary pass for the day.

High school students already have an ID they use to get into schools, but middle schoolers will receive a badge sometime this year.

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