A high school in Southeast Idaho has banned backpacks after receiving threats, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported.
Caldwell High School decided to make the announcement after multiple threats against the school were made over the last few weeks.
According to an email sent out to parents, the threats were not very specific:
The threat is not directed at any individual or time specifically. We are investigating the situation and have involved the Caldwell Police Department. We have examined the information we have so far and determined that no credible evidence substantiates this threat.
We have taken steps to ensure safety throughout the school including increased student supervision, increased bathroom monitoring, increased security sweeps of the facility, review and practice of all procedures with students and staff.
Caldwell School District Superintendent Shalene French said district officials are considering implementing the policy at other schools in the district, the Associated Press reported.
The high school posted a message on Facebook on Monday letting parents and students know that the no backpack policy would be implemented beginning on Wednesday.
Students will be given a locker to house their belongs. They are allowed to carry an 8.5" by 11" bag but nothing bigger. Any athletic bags must be left with PE teachers or stored in a student's car until it's needed.
School officials then clarified their position, saying students will be allowed to have backpacks but they aren't allowed to be worn during school hours.
Parent Moana Rime commented on the Facebook post expressing her concern:
Can you please clarify what is the safety concern, what is the consequence to students if they choose not to use a locker, as well as how did you come to this decision without seemingly including the student body and or the parents? I think this a rash decision but if you would allow the parents to know what exactly is causing you the school to come this decison [sic] maybe we could help out in some way and or help our children understand your logic. A letter sized bag for kids with tons of books, supplies, and personal hygiene doesn't seem to be fair to these children. You have already closed down bathrooms and only allow them all to use one bathroom. Now this? I am a parent and am not happy with this decision and don't believe you are fixing anything with this.
Melissa Marzullo commented on the Facebook post saying this was a horrible idea. Her post received over a dozen 'likes.'
This is a terrible idea. Three students per locker when all the classes require separate binders. That's not all going to fit in those lockers. This is typical American mindset, take away something of freedom and give false safety ideas. There should have been a open floor "town meeting" for CHS parents to voice their thoughts. Without changing the teachers [sic] issues for materials and requirements such as individual binders, this is not a good idea. Twenty five years ago when students used lockers daily we had single binders to cover all classes not binders for each one. Now requiring students to not have bags to carry such stuff, do the staff plan to carry all the stuff for students because I doubt that they will do anything to accommodate other than punishing students who get to class late trying to use lockers. A false sense of security is not worth this hassle.
Student Joshua Rendon explained his issues with the new policy:
I get this is a safety concern and it's good somethings being put into action. But all this is is a huge inconvenience to us students, as an AP student I have to carry like 3 big books, walking back and forth to a locker all day isn't only going to make me late but will also make my teachers mad because my classes are already so far apart. When has anyone ever actually done something, just because lower classman write on the bathroom stalls, that doesn't mean take the backpacks away that means do something about them doing that. All of the students are mad because this is not increasing student and staff safety but it is inhibiting our learning process. This is ridiculous and a huge inconvenience.
I now have to go around all day carying [sic] 3 huge books, binders, notebooks, pencil, paper, and all while trying to avoid other students in the crowded halls which we have no space for, go to my locker and het something, use the bathroom, and get to class all in 4 minutes? Wow, all this is doing is screwing over the students.
Caldwell High alumni and current Parkland, Florida resident Melissa Ann, jumped in to remind people about what occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month:
I honestly CANNOT believe people are arguing this! I went to CHS and now live in Parkland, FL. Yes, the Parkland.. what I wouldn’t give to have our school district make these kind of changes. If you would like to come and visit our 17 families and community of heartbroken citizens we would welcome you and then you may think differently about a no backpack rule.