Safety and hygiene became a serious concern in the classroom for teachers and administrators following last school year. In order to help solve some of these concerns, new rules were implemented, keeping all bags and backpacks out of the classroom. Administrators believe keeping backpacks out of the classroom eliminates the temptation to have items that are not allowed in school, in class.
These rules were also implemented, to essentially make students use their lockers during passing period. Assistant Principal Timothy Sopko said, “The biggest influence for me was seeing at the end of last year how many students went through each day for the entire school year without ever visiting their lockers. That meant they were carrying 40 to 60 pounds on their backs everyday.” While the concern for students health is appropriate, this can cause an inconvenience for students who have classes on opposite ends of the school.
Some students may experience trouble making it to class on time now that they must stop at their locker between class. Sophomore Daniel Horton said, “The backpack rule doesn’t make any sense. It’s an inconvenience because I can’t carry my stuff for all my classes in my arms.” This shows students have trouble getting to some classes on time if they must make a stop at their locker.
While some students are struggling to get to class on time because of the new rules that have been imposed on them, some staff members who don’t have to deal with them, refuse to acknowledge the rules as an inconvenience. Front office receptionist Jinx Main said, “I don’t think there is any inconvenience. I think the rules are a great idea.”
Some students may also experience their own personal struggles due to the bag rules, that are unrelated to books and other items specifically for class. Many female students carry feminine products in their bags, which are no longer allowed in the classroom.
Along with the new bag items, administrators also implemented a new rule that only allows students to use two hall passes a day, before disciplinary action is taken. If a student has to use the restroom more than twice in one school day, they must serve a thirty minute detention.
The backpack rules were implemented for the safety of students and teachers, and although it may be an inconvenience for students, administrators believe this is the best possible solution. Antonio Grubbs said, “We don’t have to worry about students bringing things to class that could potentially hurt yourself or others. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility for someone to bring a knife or worse to class and that’s scary. We are trying to make this the best possible environment for students to learn and flourish.”
Students are beginning to adjust to the rules, and are finding ways to get to class on time without their backpacks. Senior Shane Isgrigg said, “I have adjusted to the backpack rules, and I don’t have any trouble getting to class. I still don’t like the rules, and would rather carry my backpack than stop at my locker after every class.”
Without backpacks in the classroom, teachers and administrators are confident there is a more efficient and safer learning environment. While some students may understand the backpack rules can lead to a safer environment, other students refuse to acknowledge the benefits of the rules. Senior Taylor Roederer said, “There are no positive impacts of the bag rules.”
Although some students are adjusting to the rules, other students are still very frustrated with them. This frustration could be stemming from the amount of tardies they may be receiving due to using their lockers after every class. Sopko has arranged to meet with students who have had an abundance of tardies, to work on making more strategic transitions between classes. This could be a possible solution for students who are willing to meet with him and make the proper adjustments. However, the issue of visiting a locker and using the restroom between classes can not be solved this way.
Students have a total of four minutes from the time the class dismissal bell rings, until the time the tardy bell rings. For most students this is not ample time to visit their lockers and the restroom. The use of backpacks could make this more possible, by eliminating the trip to their locker.
Sophomore Donielle Coulter started a petition to have the bag rules changed. Her goal was to reach 1,000 signatures which was not met. Students that would like to see the rules change as well are likely out of luck. Sopko said, “I don’t see that as a possibility. All of the schools in Greater Clark and West Clark County districts have adopted similar policies and they are making a positive difference.”
Administrators are happy with the rules, and they are here to say. Students are still adjusting to the rules, and in the future it isn’t likely they will even be a topic of discussion. Until then, students will just have to deal with them because regardless of personal opinion, those are the rules.