Children First: Clear Backpacks

By: Stephanie Stang
By: Stephanie Stang

The idea of guns in our schools is a scary thought. But just last month, teachers at Russellville Middle School discovered two handguns that were brought to school by students. Since then school officials have been developing a strategic plan hoping to crack down on any possible threats of violence in the school.

Fifth grader Linsey Ison is saying goodbye to the book bag she bought at the beginning of the school year. Now she is toting something new. Students at Russellville Middle School are bagging their books in clear backpacks. The principal, Sherrie Casey, says she has faith the new bags will prevent weapons from being brought to school.

Students are giving the new bags mixed reviews. Students like Lindsey say clear visibility means less privacy. While some students like 8th grader Taylor Ray say protection comes before privacy.

Besides the book bags, students are not allowed to wear coats or bulky clothing to class. Schools officials are also looking into starting a Junior Crimestoppers.

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Why Clear Bags?

  • An increasing number of schools have developed "clear backpacks only" policies for their students.

  • Much of the change to clear bags came in response to recent school shootings in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Washington State.

  • It is estimated that 25 percent of the school districts across the nation will mandate, or consider mandating, see-through backpacks for their students.

  • It is not that clear backpacks will stop children from bringing weapons, even though it has cut down on the number of incidents involving drugs and weapons in school.

  • Clear backpacks help to keep the honest kids honest, and make the other kids think twice before trying something.

What Else Can You Do To Enhance School Security?

  • Address your school's physical security and access situation. This pertains to your doors, locks, windows and entryways. Good security starts with physical security.

  • Increase the visibility of both teachers and police during school hours.

  • Random police checks have been shown as a significant deterrent to student contraband. This can take place with metal detectors at football games, in-school locker searches, and with special police units that pick schools at random to visit and search.

  • A weapons hotline is one of the keys for tracking weapons that have already come onto campus. A good hotline provides anonymous and free access, and some provide cash rewards for contraband seized.

  • Know your own children. Spend time alone with them, and with their friends. Talk to them about your daily concerns, and encourage them to talk to about their own.

  • Show your children how to resolve conflict in a mature way. Interact, share, be accessible, and set a good example through your own behavior.

Source: http://www.seethrubackpacks.com (The See Thru Backpack Web site)


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