Lanyards bring positives and negatives

How the lanyards bring unexpected dangers to Grayslake Central


Mitchell Fuller, SNO Website Editor

“Safety and security of knowing everybody in the building.”

Those are, according to Vice Principal Michael Pryzbylski, what the lanyards are made to do.

Following the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, officials from both D127 high schools gathered together to discuss how to make our schools safer. One piece of their decision was to require all D127 students, every student from Grayslake Central and Grayslake North, and all D127 staff to carry a lanyard with them as a form of identification. 

Unlike North students, Central students had a variety of ways they could wear their lanyards. Central students had to display their lanyards either on the bag, hanging from a pocket, or worn around the neck. North students and all other D127 staff are required to wear the lanyards around the neck.

Some people were understandably upset and even outraged that the lanyards were being forced on to us. I, at the start, was also against the idea of the lanyards. As far as my knowledge of thin strips of material go, they tend to not stop bullets. Yet, as time went on, I became more accepting of the lanyards.

After all, the lanyards do more than we give them credit for. They quickly identify students and staff as a member of the high school. Security doesn’t know the face of every person walking the halls, so the lanyards give them, a form of identification without having to stop a person going about their day. In the same way, if a person doesn’t have a lanyard, they can be stopped and questioned, even possibly thwarting a threat. 

They are also quite convenient. They double as an ID holder. In the past, students had to keep their ID in a wallet or just loose in their backpack. Now, your ID  goes basically anywhere your lanyard goes and since you are required to have your lanyard, you should, in theory, never be without that pesky piece of plastic.

The lanyards weren’t the only security upgrades the school added. D127 officials also increased the amount of security guards in the halls. Grayslake Central had three hall monitors last year. This year the school hired extra security from a firm. You may have also noticed that all doors, except for the main office, are locked before seven AM every morning, and at least one security guard is stationed there.

For next school year, there’s no plan to add any extra security, but all students will be required to wear their lanyards around the neck.

But there are two underlying issues that don’t get talked about regarding the lanyards.

They are, in some instances, extremely dangerous. Perhaps, you’ve already experienced it. 

The lanyards that dangle from backpacks sometimes get caught on door handles or any other thing that protrudes from a wall. This can and has resulted in a student being jerked backwards and the lanyard snapping in two from its metal neck.

This isn’t that big of a deal you might be saying. And yes, it might not seem like a big deal at first, but the odds of a ‘what if’ are still too much of a chance to take. What if a student were to be caught and stuck on a door in the middle of a fire? What if a student were caught by the neck? And while these are what ifs, they are actual possibilities. While it might be easy to say the student is smart enough to get themselves out of the trouble, or somebody will come along to help, what if they cant?

I’m not saying this as a criticism of the school or of the lanyard. I’m saying it because it is a safety hazard to the students.

“Safety concerns about it getting caught on doors or whatever else, I mean we talked about it but of that happening, are kind of slim to none, in our opinions” said Przybylski. 

I respect Przybylski’s opinion. And to a point, I agree with it. It makes sense to believe that idea. But shouldn’t a student’s safety be absolute? No student should have to walk in a building with a possibility of a what if.

The school had talks of using break away lanyards originally, but they chose not to. Breakaway lanyards offer more safety than regular lanyards. The main strap of the breakaway lanyard typically has a clip. The clip doesn’t take much effort to pull apart, creating an open end. They also have clips that seperate the ring from the strap portion of the lanyard. These safety features could potentially save a life in an emergency.

While these features don’t obliterate all what ifs, (we could come up with new ones all day) they do expunge some of them. 

The other major issue with the lanyards are the sales of similar looking ones at Grayslake Central.

It’s scary to think about what someone might due in today’s climate. If the lanyards are meant to protect D127 members from a potential threat, then look alike ones shouldn’t be offered to the public.

I’m all for capitalism, but the school should put a new guideline around the sales of lanyards.

So what should the school do now? It would be wise of the school to rethink their decision on the breakaway lanyards instead of the regular ones, and at the very least, prohibit the sale of lanyards at school.