Just Say No
High school officials catch a drug dealer and experience unexpected benefits of ID cards
- By Sharon Steinhoff-Smith
- Dec 04, 2007
Administrators at Haltom High
School in Haltom City, Texas,
wanted their school’s ID cards to be
useful, but never did they imagine
the cards would help thwart a drug dealer.
“We have used student and faculty ID cards
for the last decade,” said Rick Mauderer, associate
principal at Haltom High School and the
person responsible for the school’s ID program.
“As a high school of more than 2,600 students,
there is no way we can know who every student
is, especially with substitute teachers in the
building, so we require that all students possess
and wear a proper, non-defaced school ID on a
lanyard around their neck.”
A Hidden Threat
With the ebb and flow of new students, teachers
make monthly ID compliance sweeps to ensure
that every student in each room has a proper ID.
Students without identification are sent to the
office for a duplicate, at a cost of $5 per card.
The sweeps also help to ensure that each person
in the school actually belongs there.
“We sometimes make 200 IDs on a sweep
day,” Mauderer said. “One day in October, we
had just performed an ID sweep, and I was in
the cafeteria, enjoying seeing all of the cards on
lanyards visible on the students. I spotted a student
without an ID card, and he said he had lost
it. When I asked for the name of his home room
teacher, he said he couldn’t remember. I decided
to take him to the office to look up his schedule,
at which time he darted out the front door of
the building. Fortunately, security cameras captured
his photo, which I e-mailed to other high
schools in the area. When he was found and
searched, he was carrying several small packages
of drugs, ready for sale.”
In 1999, the school began printing ID cards
in-house to save time and money.
“Card production used to be a laborious,
multi-step process with photos cut and pasted to
tagboard and then laminated,” Mauderer said.
“It was a five-person process and presented a
huge log jam at registration. Now it only takes
one person in Student Services. In addition, the
quality went up, and we were able to add a bar
code to include private information for students
Mauderer now uses a Fargo DTC500
series direct-to-card printer/encoder to produce
“At first, we leased extra printers from a supplier
during our busiest time, which is registration,”
he said. “The Fargo printers he brought in
were much faster than the printers we owned, so
we just decided to buy Fargo equipment.”
A Versatile Solution
Bill Davis of A Photo ID Inc., a Fargo solutions
provider, knew how flexible the cards’ uses
needed to be.
“Rick wanted to produce cards that serve
multiple purposes. In addition to providing
visual identification, they are used in the library,
in the cafeteria and for athletic events. They also
are checked by school van and bus drivers
before students are allowed to ride,” he said.
ID cards are used by faculty, students and
administrators. The back of the card is printed in
advance with useful information, such as the
school’s daily schedule and frequently called
phone numbers. For faculty, that includes counselor
numbers with an alphabetical breakdown
of student names, as well as numbers for a substitute
teacher resource. For students, it includes
numbers for the nurse’s office, the associate principals and the attendance office, as
well as a few policy reminders.
Administrator cards include home and cell
phone numbers for key staff.
The school also uses ID cards to help
with the problem of students skipping first
and seventh periods. The cards include the
teachers’ names for those blocks of time.
“We tell the students if their schedule
changes, the school will replace the card,
but if they change their schedule because
they don’t like their teacher, it will cost
them $5,” Mauderer said.
No Way Out
Students are notoriously hard on their possessions,
so Mauderer likes the durability
of the ID cards the school is using now.
“Students used to pull their old cards
apart,” he said. “And if the cards went
through the laundry, they were of no
use to anyone. PVC cards are virtually
Students, however, still find creative
ways to avoid wearing the cards. Common
excuses, according to Mauderer, include
bogus neck allergies to the lanyard and perceived
religious restrictions. Cards also end
up with moustaches or glasses added for
flair, or a student will paste a photo of his
girlfriend on the card. None of these activities
gets a good grade with Mauderer.
Mauderer said the school usually
makes three or four replacement cards
every day. Students pay $5 initially for
each card and an additional charge if the
card needs to be replaced because it was
lost, damaged or defaced.
“It’s against the law to have a fraudulent
ID in real life,” Mauderer said. “The
same holds true here. Students with no
identification receive an in-school suspension,
because administrators believe they
pose a security risk. Since the ID card program
was implemented, in-school suspensions
also have gone down substantially.”
A System that Works
Davis said he has noticed a trend toward
more middle schools using ID cards, as
well as schools using databases to export
data to PDAs. This enables administrators
to remotely pull up data on students from
other areas of the school.
Haltom High School has found an additional,
creative way to use its ID cards.
“We have a significant problem with
students who can’t seem to get out of ninth
grade,” Mauderer said.
The school prints its ID cards in five
different colors: green for freshmen, blue
for sophomores, orange for juniors and
black for seniors. Older ninth graders,
most of whom are boys, get pink.
“They don’t like that,” he said. “It actually
motivates them to get out of ninth
Mauderer said he has realized that students
get in trouble when they don’t know
“We have a system in place that
works,” Mauderer said. “We’re aggressive
about it. It’s part of our work ethic.”
And on that day back in October, it
kept students of Haltom High School safe
from a potential drug dealer, proving the
system’s effectiveness to administrators
and students alike..