Sedalia parents complain schools’ new badge, lanyard system unfairly labels students

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SEDALIA, Mo. -- Parents in one Missouri school district complain their kids are being shamed, not by bullies but by district leaders.

In Sedalia, educators are standing firm behind a change in policy.

Parents of Sedalia students, including the ones at Smith-Cotton Junior High School, said their children are being branded.

They're angry over a new system of security ID badges and color-coded lanyards called Tiger One cards, which are new to the district.

"We don't need to give any more weapons to the bullies," parent Kevin Walker said. "We need the district to help and encourage these kids. And if there's a kid who's failing or having problems in school, we need to be talking with the parents. We need to be talking with the kid."

A Sedalia School District spokesperson said the new badges all look the same from the front. The back of the card reflects whether or not the student is qualifying for different school rewards.

"Instead of shaming them and saying, 'Oh, well, now you get to wear a blue label because you struggled last month at home or you've got something going on,' -- that shouldn't stop them from success and growth," parent Lynette Dianne said.

The district maintains that it's meant to be a rewards program.

Educators in the Park Hill School District tried a similar system four years ago. Student ID badges at Park Hill High School were color-coded for a short time.
The district has since dropped them and is using a different system.

Steve Scott's two kids have already graduated from Sedalia schools, but he believes the district is going about this the wrong way.

"A kid is only going to see gold, black and grey," Scott said. "That's all they're going to see. They don't care how they got it. That's what they got."

Superintendent Steve Triplett issued the following statement: "The front of the badge will look the same for all students. The different lanyard colors indicate the student's grade level."

A district spokesperson added the colors have nothing to with academic standing or behavior level.

Sadly, the Sedalia School District has seen four students die by suicide within the past two years. Parents FOX4 talked with said if the badges and lanyards results in more bullying, they fear what could come from it.

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