Broward County Schools Reverses Clear Backpack Requirement
The clear backpack policy was supposed to go into effect August 21 and apply to all students, grades pre-K through 12.
UPDATE JUNE 29, 2023: Broward County (Florida) Schools has reversed its decision to require all students, grades pre-K through 12, to only use clear backpacks.
The policy, which was supposed to go into effect August 21, would have applied to backpacks, duffel bags, fanny packs, lunch boxes, and purses. However, the requirement was quashed on June 13.
The requirement and then its reversal has caused confusion with parents, who immediately protested the policy after its passage, reports the Sun Sentinel. Demand for clear backpacks soared after the initial announcement.
The see-through backpack policy also nearly ruined plans by the Children’s Service Council of Broward County to provide backpacks to thousands of needy kids, costing the council $21,000.
The clear backpack policy was intended to reduce the number of weapons on campus. Broward county school officials claimed the number of weapons found on school grounds was increasing, however, the Sun Sentinel reports there hasn’t been an increase.
Additionally, the way the school board made its decision on the policy might have violated Florida’s Sunshine Law.
ORIGINAL MAY 9, 2023 ARTICLE:
Broward County (Florida) Schools announced on Friday that beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, only clear backpacks and bags will be permitted for students in all grades.
The policy, which will go into effect August 21, applies not only to backpacks but also duffel bags, fanny packs, lunch boxes, and purses.
The only exceptions to this policy, which pre-K through 12 students will have to abide by, include:
- A small non-transparent pouches for personal hygiene items.
- Thermal food containers carried inside clear lunch boxes.
- School-approved sport-specific carrying cases for athletic equipment.
- School-approved instrument-specific carrying cases for band equipment.
“The purpose of this requirement is to add an additional layer of safety across our District and provide added safeguards for our students, staff, and faculty,” the district said in an online announcement. “While backpacks are not mandatory, they must be clear and all contents within the backpack must be visible.”
The decision comes five years after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, 2018.
Other districts have implemented their own clear backpack policies. In Michigan, Oxford Community Schools adopted the policy after a 2021 mass shooting at Oxford High School killed four and injured seven others.
Flint (Michigan) Community Schools banned all backpacks last week, prompted by the district’s growing safety concerns.
“By banning backpacks altogether and adding an increased security presence across the district, we can better control what is being brought into our buildings,” Flint Community Schools Superintendent Kevelin Jones said in a letter posted on the district’s website.
If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century
This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!