Speed Reads

Backpack Ban

2 Michigan school districts ban backpacks after confiscating 4th gun this year

Two Michigan school districts recently banned students from wearing backpacks to school amid safety concerns over guns, CNN reports. 

The new rules "come at a time when schools across the U.S. are struggling with how to prevent and prepare for mass shootings on campuses," CNN explains, "including conducting mass shooter drills and installing metal detectors." 

Grand Rapids Public Schools announced the ban after school officials found a loaded handgun in a third-grader's backpack, the fourth time a gun was confiscated this academic year, per a statement from the district. The firearms were discovered in a student's backpack in three of the four incidents. 

The ban "is not a decision we've taken lightly," Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Leadriane Roby said. She is "more than frustrated that a decision like this is necessary," but the district "must put safety first, and that's what this decision is about." The backpack ban "is just one step in an ongoing conversation about how we can best protect our children in our rapidly-changing world," Roby added. 

The GRPS policy was announced days after Flint Community Schools, another Michigan school district, banned backpacks as of May 1. Both districts allow small bags for personal items, but large bags big enough to conceal a weapon are not allowed. Clear bags are not permitted in GRPS schools, but Flint students may use them to carry gym clothes.

Other school districts in the country have made similar changes to their backpack policies. Last month, DeSoto Independent School District in Texas banned students in grades 6-12 from bringing large backpacks and purses to school for the rest of the year. Another Texas district, South San Antonio ISD, announced that they would do the same across all campuses starting May 15, with an exception for clear or mesh bags.