Bentonville School District Discusses Change To Boost Security

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- In just a few days, the Bentonville Board of Education will vote on a change to help security in their high schools.

The change, if passed, will require students to visibly wear identification cards every day.

“Kids will not be allowed to be in the building without their badge on," said Eric White, board of education vice president. "So, they will either have to have their badge on or have it replaced. Whether that replacement, they are given a day grace or two days, the district and administration will decide that. Probably the principals will decide that together how to best execute that.”

White explained this proposal was made by the administration through Superintendent Debbie Jones.

It's goal is to boost the current safety and security plan.

He said this proposal gets everyone involved in school safety.

Students will be able to see who does and does not have one of these cards around their neck.

"If someone were to come in and not have the badge on, they very easily stand out from the other people that are in the building and someone can approach them and ask them why they are there," White said.

So far, he has heard a lot of approval from various administrators about the change.

Jonathon Guthrie, the Bentonville West high school principal, is one of those people.

He explained there have been some students who have come to him to discuss ways to boost security at the school.

“There’s a couple of things with students," Guthrie said. "There’s them feeling safe, which is important and then there’s them being safe. We want both but we’ve talked to them about making sure the door latches when they leave. Not just letting people in the door.”

He explained it would be naive for them to think they are different than places like Jonesboro, Columbine or Parkland.

“We have a large school," Guthrie said. "We have 1,800 students and as much as I would like to have a rapport with each one, sometimes I don’t know if that is a student or not. So, that badge gives us a chance to identify students.”

White said the project would cost around $40,000.

That money would go to badges and lanyards for each high school student.

Each student would be responsible for their badge and would be required to purchase a new one if they lose it.

White said if passed by the board, it could go into effect at the beginning of the next school year.

The board is expected to vote on this proposal Monday night (March 12).