Students will be banned from carrying even backpacks, purses or other school bags “that can be used to conceal weapons, drugs or alcohol” in Granger High School in Yakima, Washington with the school citing “safety concern” as their reason for the prohibition.
The school administration also pointed to “the increased school violence in the Yakima Valley” for the policy change, which is already scheduled to take effect on March 12.
The school also said on its Facebook page: “We understand this is an inconvenience, but our main concern is that school is a safe place for learning.”
In the place of the ubiquitous backpacks, the school is suggesting that students use instead transparent grocery bags, laundry mesh bags “or other similar transparent items” for PE and sports clothes.
The school also announced that any student caught defying the new order by still bringing backpacks to school “will have a letter sent home and disciplinary measures will be enforced.”
Students have spoken against the new policy, arguing that it does not really offer any help in solving the problem of school violence or safety issues, among others.
One student who has spoken to local media and requested to be unnamed said: “I mean, I’m sure there could be better ones (ideas) than taking our backpack privileges away, because if you really wanted to bring drugs or weapons… you really would do it.”
It is not clear what types of bags are not prohibited under the new policy, and if the school considered implementing stricter bag inspection measures to students entering their premises instead of banning what was previously a normal student accessory as a backpack.