Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
The Wilson County Board of Education has made modifications to its residence and address verification policy requiring that parents provide photo identification when enrolling students in Wilson County Schools.
With board member Beverly Boyette dissenting, the board passed the policy change in a 5-1 vote at its Monday night meeting. Board member Velma Barnes was not present.
Board member Henry Mercer, representing the administrative services committee, said Board Policy 4151 would replace Policy 6203.
“One of the things that was mentioned was requiring photo ID of a parent when they are enrolling a child and then for verification, if the address on their photo ID is not the residence at which they live, then they would have two items of identification.”
Forms of ID would include property tax records, a lease, deed or current utility bill, the copy of voter registration with the form showing street or road address, a copy of automobile registration showing street or road address or an affidavit by a school official confirming the parent or guardian’s residence.
“The implementation of this, if I understand it correctly, for this first year, would be focused on first grade, sixth grade and ninth grade, which are kind of the gateways where they are changing levels of school, going to the middle school or going to the high school and so forth,” Mercer said.
Board Chairwoman Christine Fitch said if a person’s ID or license does not match the street or road address on the license, he or she would need two verifying documents. If the person’s ID matches the road and street address, he or she would need one other form of identification.
“We felt that there were more options that were necessary in case those persons did not have those matches to occur,” Fitch said. “Some people will live in heir property, deeds or rental agreements that may not be in that name as well as utility bills.”
Fitch said many farms have ID cards for their employees, particularly migrant workers, and that would be an acceptable form of photo ID.
“This provides another alternate means for having a photo identification for those who are bringing their children into our system,” Fitch said.
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles also offers photo ID cards that differ from driver licenses.
Mercer said there was some discussion about the possibility that requiring photo ID might place hardships on some parents and guardians.
“But on the other side of that, it would be protecting the schools and students and everyone that the person identifying themselves as a parent, you know who they are,” Mercer said.
Fitch said the revised policy would benefit administrators and families joining students with their family members in certain situations.
“It also went back to the reunification process for emergencies,” Fitch said. “We found that when reunification was necessary, having photo ID would help reunite the students with their families when emergencies do occur.”
The policy was passed on a first reading.
Because the first day of school is Aug. 27, the board agreed to waive the second reading and enact the policy.
Boyette voted against requiring a photo ID and waiving the second reading, but voted in the affirmative when it came to removing the old policy.
“I would say that I am not convinced that a photo ID is necessary to register a child to enroll in school based on the experience that I had as principal, that two other documents should be essential, but I am not convinced that a photo ID should be required,” Boyette said.
In other business, the board:
• voted unanimously to discontinue the planning process for the proposed high ropes challenge course to be located adjacent to Vinson-Bynum Elementary School. Wilson County Schools had been awarded $80,000 from the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson to construct the course this fall. The board voted to give the money back to the foundation or ask whether it could be repurposed to fund something else in the schools. “One of the biggest concerns we had after talking with the Department of Labor is who would actually be the one to certify the course, inspect and be the governing body,” Mercer said. “At this point, it appears that because of liability and the cost of insurance, and inspections, it is not a wise thing to do.”
• approved a new general liability insurance contract with Utica National Insurance Group for $135,889.
• approved a new contract with TE21 for collaborative assessment solutions for educators benchmark assessments (tests) for elementary, middle and high-school students in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies for $141,988.50.
• approved consolidation of attendance policies under one policy.
• approved a student dress and appearance policy to align with state statutes and the North Carolina School Board’s policies.
• approved Option B as the North Carolina Alternative Schools’ accountability model for the Daniels Learning Center. In Option B,the school will be evaluated 20 percent by student persistence (amount of students who remain enrolled), 20 percent by school achievement (end-of-grade, end-of-course, other testing and graduation rate) and 60 percent by growth (as calculated using the Education Value-Added Assessment System).