Cleveland Public Schools are requiring their 40,000 middle and high school students to wear identification cards in school starting in January.
The card not only will be used as a photo ID but also will be swiped in the cafeteria to track food choices.
The district initially is spending $234,000 for the ID system, most of that on one-time costs such as photo identification cameras, card generators, and printers. Each school building will have its own equipment to make the ID cards.
About 320 students at John F. Kennedy High School will use the card to ride the Regional Transit Authority buses as a test. That will be expanded districtwide next fall, said Michael Eugene, the district’s executive director of operations.
District officials considered implementing a comprehensive ID program after an incident last January at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in which two armed intruders raced through halls. Students later gave Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer for the school district, a petition requesting student IDs.
Cleveland students have carried IDs before, but that program was phased out by the mid-1980s. In recent years, other districts such as Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Mentor, and Parma have begun using ID cards.