ARIZONA CITY — Parents and guardians of children in kindergarten through second grade have to present a special card at Arizona City Elementary School when they pick up their child.
Aug. 5 marked the first day of the school year and while parents lined up outside the school gate waiting for their child, they were advised to check their child’s backpack before leaving to make sure that three specially designed cards with their child’s name were in there.
“Every class has a different color of paper that’s assigned to them,” ACES vice principal Tracy McCain told PinalCentral. “Every student has four laminated cards with their name on it. The school keeps one card, three cards go home and then the family can give dad a card, mom a card, grandma a card, who ever is going to pick them up. Then when they come to the gate, the student has a card and we match them to the person who’s picking them up, and then we know that they can go.”
If the person picking up the child does not have a card then they will have to go to the office to show their ID. From there the school staff will check the emergency list to see if the adult’s name is listed and if not the school will call a parent to confirm that the person at the school is allowed to take the student home.
So far Arizona City Elementary is the only school with this process in the Toltec School District.
This is the second year the school has decided to take this precautionary measure and it was due to the fact that more students are enrolled in those grade levels.
“We used to have like two classes per grade level, now we have three classes per grade level and it got harder to remember every student and what parent they went with,” McCain said. “We got worried about what could happen, especially with the little ones. Sometimes they’re really shy and if somebody said I’m here to pick up this child and they’re at the front gate, if we don’t have any type of security measure in place some kids wouldn’t say anything, they would just go with the person.”
McCain added that nothing bad had happened before this measure was implemented and that the parents really like knowing that their child will not be handed off to someone who does not have a card.
“People might think that they can just make their own card,” McCain said. “That’s possible, but it’s in a specific font, it’s on a specific color and it’s laminated so it would be more difficult that what it seems to counterfeit a card.”