The Dallas school district is joining several other Texas districts in requiring students to use only clear or mesh backpacks in school as officials look to implement new security measures following the Uvalde school massacre in May.
The move comes after students in Parkland, Florida – the site of the February 2018 school shooting that left 17 dead – did away with a similar clear backpack rule, citing privacy concerns.
On Monday, district officials in Dallas – the second-largest public school district in Texas – announced the mandate, which applies to all 6th-12th grade students at Dallas Independent School and will take effect when the 2022-2023 school year begins next month.
A statement released by the district revealed the clear backpacks have already been purchased and will be distributed to students before the school year begins.
All Other Backpacks And Bags Are Now Banned, Officials Say
According to CNN, all other types of bags will now be banned on school grounds.
“We acknowledge that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns,” the district said in its announcement. “This is merely one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety.”
The idea behind the mandate is that clear or mesh bags will make it harder for potential school shooters to hide firearms and weapons, prompted by feedback from parents and students and a recommendation by a newly-formed safety task force.
The move occurred a month after a gunman fatally shot 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary school on May 24. The massacre was the second-deadliest shooting in a K-12 school in US history.
Meanwhile, other Texas school districts appear to follow suit and similarly implement backpack requirements across the state.
Other Texas School Districts Follow Suit With Clear Backpack Mandate
Last week, according to the statement, a San Antonio-area school district announced it would enact a clear backpack policy for both middle and high school students for the upcoming school year.
And early last month, a school district in Greenville announced it would require students to wear clear backpacks amongst other security measures, including keeping classroom doors locked at all times and restricting access to the schools’ access points.
Ingleside Independent School District, the Harper Independent School District, and the Southside Independent School District have all made similar announcements in recent weeks.
Several of the districts have noted that students are allowed to use smaller, non-clear bags to carry hygiene products or money, CNN reported.
The idea behind clear backpacks is hardly new, with a mandate implemented following the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students at the high school were required to use only clear backpacks after returning from spring break that year,
Idea Tossed Over Students’ Privacy Concerns In Parkland, Florida
According to CNN, schools across the country have implemented everything from metal detectors to active-shooter training in response to the unsettlingly growing trend.
Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced $105.5 million in funding towards school safety and mental health initiatives through August 31, 2023, with the money going towards everything from bullet-proof shields and silent panic alert technology.