by David Kent | staff writer
North East Independent School District is moving forward with their new clear backpack policy and has been enforcing that policy just within the first three weeks of school.
“You know, one of the things I worried about is whether or not the students will accept the new policy from North East for the clear backpacks. I know the reservations of [the clear backpacks],” Mehlbrech said. “But I was amazingly surprised as to the lack of pushback that we’ve really received from the clear backpacks. I think the kids generally understand why they are in place, you know safety is a priority and if this is one step to make it more secure than so be it.”
Although students weren’t excited about the requirement for clear backpacks, they understood the reason why Johnson was requiring them to use transparent backpacks.
“The first couple of days we told the kids that had a non clear backpack that this had to be done by tomorrow, and they’re done. And if they didn’t have a clear backpack or they couldn’t get one, we do give those out to them,” Mehlbrech said.
However, backpacks are the only required item that needs to be see-through on campus.
“Purses for example, you could carry anything in a purse and nobody could see it. Bags that some of the athletes [and] dance teams bring in. Even a band instrument case that is brought it,” Mehlbrech said. “They can’t carry them around, but it’s still a potential problem for them. The clear backpack is just one element of many that we have to look at consistency to make sure we’re protected at all times.”
NEISD is currently looking into providing and possibly requiring the use of clear duffel bags and instrument cases for both band students and athletes.
“I know they are working with other districts and a security company to see what can be done in those fashions,” Mehlbrech said. “I think right now we’re waiting to see what effect it had overall and to see if the clear backpack is effective overall.”
Currently, the school district is going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of using clear backpacks, to determine whether they will continue using plastic backpacks in the following years.
“The demands of what the community expects is for kids to be safe,” Mehlbrech said. “So a lot of measures that you see is designed for that purpose. Whether it has a huge effect on it, or a small effect on it, it’s one step, one element, of many that we are trying to do.”