Following Threats, Caldwell High Bans Backpacks
Carrying a lot of supplies or books from class to class will get a little harder for students in Caldwell.
Administrators posted a note on their Facebook Page and website Monday afternoon, stating that the school would be transitioning to a "no backpack" procedure this week as a move to increase student safety.
The new procedure has been met with criticism from both students and parents, causing the school to clear up rumors that started running rampant after the announcement. There was a misconception that the lockers would come at an increased cost to students and their families. In the comments, Caldwell High School clarified that having a locker will be absolutely FREE to students.
Others claim that 2-3 students would need to share a locker as a result of the new policy. The school has also clarified that they have enough lockers for any student wishing to use one to have one for their own personal use. They will NOT have to share with another student.
More students raised concerns over not having enough time to make it from class to class with a stop at their locker to switch out books/binders for their next period. As it stands, students have a four minute "passing period" which the school does not intend to change. It's something that they will monitor and if there is a need to make the adjustment, that's still on the table.
Not the First Time
Everyone's sensitivity to school safety is at an all time high following the Parkland shooting, so I'm going to try to say this as gently as possible. This isn't the first time a school's called for a backpack ban and it's not going to be the last...so exhale.
Last week, I shared what happened at my school in the days following Columbine. After two bomb threats and a unspecified threat about needing to check student's backpacks, our whole district looked at doing the same thing. They also examined moving to a policy allowing backpacks under the condition that they were clear or mesh so that the contents was easily identifiable. Once the suspect behind the threats was identified and his motive apparent, the district opted to NOT adjust backpack rules.
Not that it would've mattered to most of us if they had instated the ban. Both our junior high and high school had a four minute passing period, which was more than enough time to make a locker stop every period or two. (And before assuming anything, I'd like you to know my school was larger than Caldwell High.)
To be honest, I stopped using one during the school day in sixth grade because I just never needed it. My small purse was big enough for any supplies like pens or pencils that I needed to carry. In the rare instance that I had too many books and binders with me to carry easily while I was gathering up what I needed to take home for homework, I just made two trips from my locker to the car. If I had to catch a bus, I'd ask a friend to lend me a hand.
I survived just fine. So will the students at Caldwell High. The administration is doing this out of a place of love and concern for their students, not to purposely cause a disruption. I'm sure if there's a need to store bigger books inside the classroom, that's something that can be examined.
Will banning backpacks solve all the school's safety concerns? Maybe not, but it's a starting place.