When Mesquite ISD announced that all students would be required to carry clear backpacks and clear lunch bags to school this year, mom Elizabeth Rodriguez-Ross wasn’t happy.
“I didn’t like it because we didn’t have any input as a parent,” said Rodriguez-Ross. “I also thought it was going to be another financial hardship that I was gonna have to undertake.”
In a statement to CBS News Texas, Mesquite ISD said, “While clear bags may not prevent all prohibited items from entering our buildings, in general, clear bags are a deterrent or obstacle to those who intend to violate campus rules.”
CBS News Texas asked Dr. Alex del Carmen, a criminologist at Tarleton State University, if he thinks clear backpacks will make schools safer.
“To say that that clear backpacks are going to make such a difference that we don’t have to worry about school shootings anymore, or threats to a school; It would be obviously an overstatement,” Dr. del Carmen said. “But to say also that they’re not going to help, you know, we have no evidence to suggest that either.”
Rodriguez-Ross said she thinks it’s a false sence of security and that kids “are just gonna figure out other ways to bring weapons.”
Dr. del Carmen said that idea is “right in the sense that when there is a will, there’s a way.” But, he continued by saying not to discourage attempts schools are making in order to keep everyone safe.
However, Rodriguez-Ross also worries about the cost of the clear bags. She says she’ll likely have to buy multiple clear backpacks a year if the bags rip.
All said, Mesquite is not the only district making changes to their bag policy.
Dallas ISD is expanding their clear bag policy to include kindergarten through sixth grade. Last year, only sixth to 12th grade students were required to use them. The district said last year, the policy helped speed up the inspection of bags at the beginning of the school day.
“It’ll take us in the right direction to make schools a little bit safer,” said dad Josh Underhill.
Underhill’s daughter doesn’t attend a school with a clear bag policy, but he said he’s in favor of any policy that makes schools safer.
“If it means that they may have to sacrifice a little privacy for their own safety, for their own good, I think it’s up to us as parents to make that decision,” Underhill said.
Mesquite ISD said they’ll provide one free clear backpack to each student who requests one at the beginning of the school year. Dallas ISD will also provide free clear backpacks to students.
“I think it’s a good start,” said Dr. del Carmen. “I do think; however, that they need to be part of a bigger, more collective and comprehensive approach to school safety.”
Source : CBSNEWS