Parkland students receive clear backpacks as part of enhanced security

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 Leslie Ovalle   WLRN News
View Slideshow Leslie Ovalle WLRN News

04 April, 2018

After new measures were announced at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students are reacting to one of the new rules implemented by the school district.

Students at a Florida high school where 17 people died in a mass shooting are receiving clear backpacks.

Delaney Tarr, a student activist at the school, spent much of her Monday evening - and some of her early Tuesday morning - decorating her school-issued bag with pins and paint, and also tampons.

A new policy specifically for the site of the tragedy mandates, among other measures, that all students be provided with a transparent school bag, the only backpacks now allowed on the campus.

Another student said, "This backpack is probably worth more than my life".

"It was hilarious to see all of us look stupid together", student Aaliyah Eastmond said. Many carried lunch in clear plastic bags.

Last month, hundreds of thousands of people marched in cities across the country to protest gun violence and call for action.

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In their first couple of days back from spring break, some students have turned their school-issued bags into improvised picket signs. Student Josh Gallagher said, "This clear backpack idea is to give us kids a false sense of security and now has enraged most of the students here at MSD".

"They did not check my I.D.", Annabel said.

Cameron Kasky, one of the founders of March for Our Lives, felt the clear backpack rule was a "step in the wrong direction", but urged students to keep moving forward in their fight for tighter gun control.

The shooting galvanized a student-led movement calling for stricter gun laws, and some students used the clear bags to make a political statement.

But despite the outcry on social media, teachers "for the most part" have embraced the policy, said Greg Pittman, an American History teacher at the school of about 3,300.

And since the rule went into effect on Monday - nearly two months after a former student sneaked an AR-15 onto campus in a rifle bag and used it to kill 17 people - students have complained that the policy is unnecessary and intrusive. "I say this to say that out of all that, I rarely recommend clear backpacks for K-12", he said. Sports bags and musical instrument cases are being searched.

"I realise some will want more and some will want less", he wrote in a letter last week.

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