Broward County Public Schools Bans Backpacks for Last Week of School

BCPS said it was “prioritizing the safety of our students and staff” by issuing the backpack ban but did not elaborate on the reasoning.

Broward County Public Schools Bans Backpacks for Last Week of School

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The last week of school is underway at Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) but students were told to leave their bags and backpacks at home.

Officials notified community members Thursday that starting June 3 and extending through June 10, the ban was being implemented to prioritize the safety of students and staff during the final days of school.

Students were told they could bring lunches in a small lunch box and a small pouch for personal hygiene items. They were also told to return books and devices by June 3.

While the district did not provide additional information on the ban, community members took to social media to voice their assumptions.

“So historically school shootings have occurred the last week of school have they? This why we need to keep everyone ‘safe’?” one person wrote. “MSD – February, Columbine – April, Sandy Hook – December…..yeh I’m not buying it.”

“Kids bring fart bombs, silly string, and silly stuff to pull pranks. It’s probably more to mitigate vandalism and pranks than violence,” said another. In response, someone commented, “I agree that is the more logical reason so why don’t they state that? Instead they pull the safety card leading to the question posed.”

“A gun or knife or anything can perfectly fit into a lunch bag I would say, what’s the point of this stupidity?” wrote another.

In 2022, BCPS announced it was buying metal detectors. At the time, WSVN reported at least one metal detector wand would be at each school.

Clear Backpacks Previously Required at BCPS, Other Districts

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed during a 2018 mass shooting, is part of BCPS. When students returned following the tragedy, they were required to use clear backpacks provided by the district. The requirement was eventually removed.

In May 2023, the district again announced only clear backpacks would be permitted during the 2023-2024 school year. However, the decision was reversed a month later. The clear backpack policy was reportedly intended to reduce weapons on BCPS campuses after officials claimed the number was increasing. At the time, the Sun Sentinel disputed there was an increase.

Similarly, following the deadly Nov. 2021 Oxford High School shooting, Oxford Community Schools issued clear backpacks to all middle school and high school students. Elementary school students were not required to use clear backpacks but had to keep their belongings in cubbies.

Also in May 2023, Flint Community Schools announced it was banning all backpacks — even clear ones — on its campuses for the remainder of the school year.

“Across the country, we have seen an increase in threatening behavior and contraband, including weapons, being brought into schools at all levels. Backpacks make it easier for students to hide weapons, which can be disassembled and harder to identify or hidden in pockets, inside books or under other items,” Flint Community Schools Superintendent Kevelin Jones wrote in a letter after the announcement. “Clear backpacks do not completely fix this issue. By banning backpacks altogether and adding an increased security presence across the district, we can better control what is being brought into our buildings.”

The policy change was approved by the Flint Board of Education and the district’s administration and principals. It also received support from the Flint Police Department and other safety advocates.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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