McCracken County middle and high school students no longer will be required to wear photo identification badges to classes, according to school officials.

“It was very time-consuming to enforce the policy that required every student to wear their identification badge in every class,” Superintendent Tim Heller said. “The staff had to spend time chasing kids down who didn’t have their badges, and some students were suspended. It was defeating the purpose.”

The badge policy was implemented after former Heath High School student Michael Carneal shot and killed three Paducah students in a prayer circle in 1997.

School officials started requiring the badges to keep unwelcome visitors out of schools. Heller said safety was ensured by other procedures such as locking doors, hiring resource officers and more counselors, installing telephones in classrooms and fences around campuses, and increasing safety training for teachers.

Under a policy effective with the start of the approaching school term, only visitors will be required to wear badges.