Photo ID cards for Tulsa School students

Thursday, November 25th 2004, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

ID cards are going out to every Tulsa Public Schools student, but these are just for their parents to use if their child is missing.

It's a new program called Smile Safe Kids, creating a catalog of school pictures that authorities can use to help identify a missing child. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

It’s a fall tradition for children all over the country to get school pictures. This year, children will get something extra with that picture; an identification card made specifically to help identify a missing child.

The cards are free for every student photographed by Lifetouch, one of the countries largest school photographers. Wayne Horntvedt with Lifetouch National School Studios: "The SmileSafe kids program is expected to touch 30,000 schools and 20-million students this fall. And the ID card with the picture is available to parents and guardians of these children at no charge."

The photographs can be accessed by police through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Ernie Allen, CEO National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: “One in 6 of the children featured in the photo distribution effort are recovered, but millions of people don't have a good picture.”

The center has helped locate 85,000 children reported missing over the last 20 years. They say in one every 3 cases - someone recognized the missing child from the photographs they distribute.

Lifetouch takes school pictures for Tulsa Public Schools, as well as dozens of other northeast Oklahoma private and public school districts. Some Tulsa students already have the ID cards; others will get them just a few weeks after their school portrait is taken.

The ID cards have just the picture and name and are given to the parents. Tulsa Police can use the identification number to quickly distribute the picture through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.