Friday, February 28, 2014

What's That You're Wearing?-- Durable Security Gear

Security in schools has certainly been updated in recent years. Most school staff are now asked to wear picture id so that it is visible at all times. Many schools are putting in electronic security systems and always keeping doors locked, which means school staff must carry key cards to go in and out of the building during the day with students. Both id and key cards must be ready at any moment.

Teachers are looking for easy to use, durable, card carrying systems.
Lanyards worn around the neck are the most popular and they do allow for id and key cards to be readily available. However, I blew through five or six styles last year. Most of the lanyards I used broke after a month or two of use. When I sat at the tables next to students I was always catching the connector on the edge of the table as I leaned forward to reach a student's work. Some chain or beaded styles, though pretty, were uncomfortable and would catch on my clothing.

This year I tried a popular version, pictured below. I liked that it was inexpensive, that it came in lots of colors, and that the gems added a little bling. The kids especially liked it. However, after not much time, the little gems started popping off. I walked around school for weeks leaving a bejeweled trail behind me.  One lunch period I found them in my soup as I was about to take a spoonful, and thought, enough is enough... until I really looked, and found that the gems that were popping off were the ones around the back of my neck. The ones that hung down in the front were quite secure. I took off the random jewels left around the back, rubbed off some residual glue, and was left with a smooth, comfortable, soft cloth lanyard around the back of my neck. The jewels in the front stayed put and haven't given me any grief. Yay!

The next problem to be solved was that all the card holders were flimsy, and broke on a regular basis, too. Maybe I'm especially hard on these things, or maybe I am just too active with my kiddos, but either the holder or the connector were constantly breaking. I tried every style I could find at several office supply stores.

One day while shopping at our trusty Target, I wandered through the luggage department, where I found several styles of luggage tags. They were made of tough rubbery plastic and appeared very hardy. They didn't cost any more than some of the id carriers I had purchased in the past, and they came in lots of cute styles-- so important for my inner fashionista! So I bought one and gave it a try as a card carrier.  I had to wrestle my key card and id into it, but they sure weren't going to slip out by accident! Luckily, the magnetic key card still swiped even when encased in the thick plastic.  It is really cute and fun, brings a smile to lots of faces, and I can easily find it when it gets flung onto a table of stuff at home. Best of all, it hasn't broken in over six months of use! I guess if it can stand up to the airline luggage handlers, it can stand up to me, too.

Oh, and the little key elf you see in the photo can be found at most hardware stores that sell keys. My classroom key has been in this forever, so it is very durable. And there's an added bonus-- once last year when I had one of those not-so-good lanyards, the key fell off. I was in a panic. However, the little key elf let the finder know just who to return the key to :)

You might want to check all this stuff out if your card carrying system is not quite what you'd like it to be. Might as well have a little fun with an otherwise mundane detail of school life.

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