Memphis, Tennessee’s Shelby County School district has implemented a new kind of identification system, only it’s not for the kids. Parents have been enrolling themselves into a the new ID system in an effort to more accurately vet visitors to the schools.
Per a report from the Tennessee Chalkbeat, the district started to require parents to scan a formal photo IDs last year as part of a background check to obtain access beyond school lobbies. Now, the policy is set to expand to all district schools in Memphis.
Intended purely as a safety measure, the new policy has led to some unexpected challenges, particularly for Memphis’ Latin citizens carrying international IDs or who are otherwise undocumented. The new ID requirement left this subset of the population without a solution, and kept some parents from being involved with their children’s activities on school premises.
Enter the parent ID. Memphis schools are now addressing the issue by working with the school district to create and issue an agreeable form of identification so parents can get involved beyond the school lobby.
A district safety and security specialist has worked with schools and parents alike to create a district-specific ID, or parent access ID — the first document of its kind in the city. The parent access ID is intended to provide identity verification to the district so that campus faculty and staff have some proof that an individual has already been recognized as a parent and can be on campus.
Parents in need of the new parent access ID can have their photo taken at their child’s school. Efforts are also ongoing to work with the district to ensure that international IDs are recognized in the district’s software programs going forward.