School ID and security

Written By John Fieldsend
School ID

A good school ID badge can go beyond just identifying students and staff — it can also boost safety on your campus.

In an effort to make campuses as safe as possible, today’s schools are leaving no stone unturned when looking for the latest and greatest security enhancements.

Schools that previously left doors unlocked are now turning to smart lock systems that can be controlled remotely. Campuses that formerly used a volunteer with a notebook to register guests are now using robust Visitor Management systems.

In an ideal world, schools wouldn’t need to spend any time worrying about taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of students and staff, but the threats today’s schools face are too serious to ignore.

However, in a rush to add surveillance cameras and metal detectors, schools are overlooking a more basic way to enhance security: the use of school identification cards for students and staff.

How do school identification cards enhance security?

At some level, the goal of every ID card is to enhance security through positive identification. For example, a driver’s license confirms that a person can legally operate a vehicle, while an employee ID badge verifies that a person is allowed to access a certain wing of a hospital.

School identification cards function the same way: they serve as a way of confirming that the cardholder, whether it’s a student, teacher or staff member, is allowed to be on site.

A school can use ID cards to implement a number of different policies that enhance security. Here are a few examples of such policies:

For students: Issue ID cards to all students, and require students to present their cards to a security officer or staff member upon arrival. This helps prevent outsiders, like students from neighbouring schools or potential troublemakers, from gaining access to school buildings.

For staff: Issue ID cards to all staff members and require them to be visible, making it easy to quickly confirm, for example, that an adult spotted in the corridor is authorised to be on site. Smart locks and card readers can also be installed to allow these cards to be used as keys for “staff only” areas, like a staff room or supply cupboard.

For emergencies: Collect cards from students and staff members at muster points and quickly determine if anyone is missing, allowing for a more efficient response from emergency personnel.

What are my options for school identification cards?

When it comes to choosing a school identification card, the possibilities are nearly endless. From materials and sizes to functionality and form factor, there are many different factors to consider.

For the sake of keeping things simple, options can be divided into two distinct categories:

Standard staff and student ID cards These cards are perfect for simple uses, often featuring little more than a logo, a name and a photo. Standard cards are normally used solely for positive identification, as described above.

Functional staff and student ID cards While all ID cards technically perform the “function” of positively identifying the cardholder, other cards can be programmed to actually perform functions. For example, cards with magnetic stripes or internal chips can be used to record staff and student attendance, process payments in the cafeteria and more.

The perfect card for a school will depend entirely on what that school is looking to accomplish with its card programme.

What are the key features of a good school identification card?

When it comes to identification cards for staff and students, there’s no “one size fits all” solution; each ID card is going to be as unique as the school itself.

However, when starting a new identification card programme from scratch, there are a few features that every school should keep in mind:

Student School ID CardBranding: Make it yours! Use your school’s logo, colours or background photo to make your ID unique

Security: Use HoloPatch cards and /or add a HoloKote watermark to help prevent counterfeiting

Functionality: Adding a barcode or magnetic stripe to your card allows it to be used to open doors and process payments

Photograph: Don’t skimp on quality – hire a professional to take portraits to ensure your photos are up to par and consistent

Serial number: Serial numbers are a great way to track cards in your system as well as help identify unauthorised or forged cards


Find out more about ID cards in Education