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Poplar Bluff, MO School Badge Plan Questioned

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Poplar Bluff High School (school photo)

By AP/KWMU

Poplar Bluff, MO – A new policy at Poplar Bluff High School, in southeast Missouri, requires students to wear identification badges. That has prompted some parents to complain and students to protest the move as an infringement on their rights.

The badges are identical to the IDs students have always been required to carry and use to check out library books. But they're now required to be worn on campus during school hours.

"We need to be able to identify people without having to walk up to them and ask if they are a student or a teacher," said Sheldon Tyler, an assistant principal at the high school. Poplar Bluff is a town of 16,700 about 150 miles south of St. Louis.

Some students have put stickers on their badges in protest. The superintendent has permitted that action as an exercise in free speech. One father, John Durbin, withdrew his two daughters until he can talk to the school board about the policy.

"I believe this country needs security. But if we put ourselves in a cage just to be safe, what kind of life do we have? There is a fine line there, and I wonder if we are beginning to cross it," Durbin said.

Durbin said the policy change should have been decided by the school board instead of school administrators. He and other parents plan to give the school board a petition at the next meeting on November 18 asking them to eliminate the policy.

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