The start of the school year has been about communication and safety at Hayes High School, according to Vice Principal Rex Reeder.
Reeder said Wednesday the roll out of the school’s new mandatory photo ID is complete, and all students are required to carry their school-issued photo ID during the school day. Reeder said the new policy was adopted for the sake of student safety.
“We’ve got a picture of every kid for ID, and we’re asking them for it to be out, not in a bag,” Reeder said. “It’s different for our students, I know, but hopefully it makes parents and (students) feel safer knowing that the people that are here are the people that should be. It’s important to know who is in the building. There’s too much going on in the world today, I’m sorry to say, and we want to be proactive, rather than reactive.”
Hayes senior and student board member Meg Wolf said she didn’t know what to think about the policy when it was first announced.
“At first, the policy was interesting to me because I didn’t get why we were going to do it,” Wolf said. “But once Dr. (Ric) Stranges and (School Resource) Officer (Joseph) Kolp explained the reasoning of the lanyards to us, it made sense. I think it will help out teachers and administrators in our building a lot and hopefully can give students a bit more trust of the people in our building.”
Wolf said student reaction was “definitely mixed” at the start of the school year.
“For returning students, it was harder to accept because it is a change from our past years at Hayes,” Wolf said. “However, for new students it’s easier to transition to this new rule. The good news is many students have adapted well, and it’s been a benefit to the safety in our building.”
Reeder said another priority for the school this year has been communication and making sure students understand school rules and policies.
“The goal for us is that we don’t want to assume anything anymore,” Reeder said. “There’a lot of assumptions in society. Everybody assumes everybody understands this or understands that, but one of our pieces is that we don’t assume anything right now. We will explain it to you and talk to you and make sure students know some of their choices and stuff like that.”
Reeder said that during the first few weeks of school, students have heard presentations during their House period at the end of the day, including presentations from the school administration to discuss rules at the school and presentations from school counselors who outlined the school’s graduation requirements. Reeder said the presentations are given by the same people each time for more consistency.
“What we’ve learned is I can’t just give a topic and let 90 to 100 teachers talk on it, I’ll get 90 different versions,” Reeder said. “If you want something (consistent), we need to get out that message as much as we can.”
Reeder said the House period will continue to hold its events and competitions throughout the year after some instructions and presentations at the start of the school year.
“We’re trying to use House as more of an instructional mode,” Reeder said. “We’d like people to feel welcome and be part of something. We’re trying to use those 30 minute to create some positivity. We’ve seen some good things.”
Overall, Reeder said he’s happy with the first three weeks of school.
“It’s been a great start,” he said. “The staff has been great. They’ve been very positive. I thank parents for their support.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.