Should Schools Require Clear Backpacks?
Recently, the idea of making kids carry clear backpacks in school has been circulating throughout America. The topic was originally introduced after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This shooting, that happened on Valentine’s Day, left 17 staff and students dead. About a month later, the school announced that the only bags allowed on campus would be clear. They provided all the students with clear backpacks to keep them safe on campus.
This is not the first time clear backpacks have been required at different events and locations. In 2013, after the Boston Marathon Bombing, the NFL announced that only clear bags would be allowed in their stadiums. However, the clear backpacks required in Parkland grasped the attention of our nation. This attention was due in part to the fact that many of the students at Stoneman Douglas took to Twitter to express their displeasure at the new requirement.
“Clear backpacks don’t do anything except make us look stupid. We want to be safe, not uncomfortable. The only thing that can really have an impact on our safety is gun control.” A student from Stoneman Douglas, Carly Novell ‘18, tweeted.
The clear backpack debate, like many things on this planet, does not have a perfectly clear answer. Students seem to be the most opposed to the idea of clear backpacks, and their say is vitally important because they are directly affected. The students, against clear backpacks, argue that clear backpacks are a weak substitute for the gun reform laws many have been calling for. They believe that this is not a long term solution to their problem and won’t be very effective. They also contend that clear backpacks are an invasion of privacy. Stoneman Douglas kids say that clear backpacks, coupled with mandatory ID’s, make school seem like a prison.
“Clear backpacks and checkpoints don’t make anyone feel safe. They make us feel like black sheep, like we’re different.” Stoneman Douglas student, Ryan DeWerff, tweeted.
The people in favor of clear backpacks are mainly school officials. They say that clear backpacks make it easier to look inside for weapons and stolen school property. This way it is easier to identify assailants and stop them before they have a chance to act. However people can still hide weapons in binders or between textbooks so it is possible to bring weapons into school albeit more difficult. People who support clear backpacks also argue that clear backpacks get rid of income disparities being shown in book bags so it keeps everyone on the same level. This, however, causes students to lose the self-expression choosing their own bag allows. Clear, plastic backpacks also are better in the rain than cloth ones, but, they are made of low-quality plastic. This plastic is easily damaged and highly flammable. Due to the fact that they are made of cheap materials they are not strong and may break under the stress of high school textbooks. In addition they are quite small which makes it hard for students to carry all their materials.