Clear Backpack Policy Headed For Second Vote

UPDATE: The clear-backpack policy is history! Trustees voted 8-1 to rescind it.

Spearheaded by DISD board members Lew Blackburn and Ron Price, the clear backpack policy may well be history. Blackburn and Price were attending graduations and unable to vote when the policy was voted on the first time.

Original Article

With words from DISD Board Trustee Jerome Garza championing it, the Board narrowly passed a new policy mandating clear backpacks for all students starting this fall.

If a student can't afford one, DISD will give them one.

Garza expressed concern that "83 percent [of the students in DISD] are on free or reduced [meal programs]." Garza then turned to DISD Associate Superintendent Ron Peace (filling in for Superintendent Michael Hinojosa) and told him that staff would be held to their pledge to furnish new backpacks to those who can't afford them--a clear indication that taxpayers may end up bearing the cost.

A brochure handed out at the board meeting titled: "Keep it Clear" explained that:

 

Starting in the fall, all backpacks and book bags must be clear plastic or mesh. Students who choose to carry a backpack or a book bag must ensure they are clear plastic or mesh. The use of these bags and packs will help speed up the process of entering the school each morning and help keep all Dallas ISD schools safe and secure.

Marsha Faram, a DISD parent, expressed concern over bag policy. "They don't hold up," Faram explained. Faram also worried that expensive items would be plainly visible, inviting theft--and that clear bags would give staff a false sense of security.

Faram's concerns were echoed by Trustee Carla Ranger who expressed worries over student privacy.

Their concerns may be valid--especially if the goal of the program is to "speed up the process" of screening them.

Items carried in the bags such as clothing, books and other smaller bags are not required to be clear meaning that prohibited items may be concealed and escape scrutiny.

A makeup bag or a pencil bag, for instance, might provide ample room for concealing anything someone wished to carry.

Since the screening process will be sped up, students may quickly figure out that their bag has a much smaller chance of being screened--which may lead to more contraband instead of less.

Cost to taxpayers may also be an issue. One estimate put the cost of the program between $1 and $2 million dollars annually.

In the end it didn't matter. Jerome Garza, Nancy Bingham, Edwin Flores and Board President Jack Lowe voted for the "Keep it Clear" policy.

Trustees Leigh Ann Ellis, Carla Ranger and Adam Medrano voted against it.

Clear Backpacks...

I am a student in DISD and attend a high school in North Dallas. There are so many negative things that would come from using these clear, "time saving" backpacks.

1)The quality of clear backpacks are...well...horrible. They rip extremely easily. With amount of weight that we must carry everyday, I would be going through backpacks more than pencils. And then you ask..why don't you use your locker? Well, with a 5 minute passing period, and the large schools that we go to, to make it to our locker and to class without a tardy(which could get us to court, and then we would be wasting more money) we would have to RUN in the hallways. And according to the rules at the school I attend, running in hallways more than once can get you into ISS AKA detention.

2) The cost of keeping a clear backpack. Like I said in number 1, we would be going through backpacks extremely fast. They will rip, break, etc. So, we would have to go and get a new one. DallasISD has SOOO many students that would not be financially capable of constantly replacing backpacks. For a district to have so many children in this situation how irresponsible is it to make them pay money for something that doesn't have to be.

3) The excuse of making it faster to get through the backpack checking lines. Okay, something that the district doesn't know...Those backpack checkers AKA DISD cops don't go through those backpacks anyway. They make you unzip the thing, put it on the table, they open it close it without looking in it, tap it just a little and then let you by. You could put a knife on the bottom of your backpack wide open without a case or anything and it wouldn't be seen. Those backpack checkers get there at a certain time. Guess what? Its not school opening time. If students get there early, they don't even have to go through the checking anyway. And the metal detectors??? I could put fingernail clippers in my hand, metal chains on my clothes, a weapon in my pocket and the thing wouldn't go off; and the backpack checkers wouldn't dare touch me. So, if you think that this is going to cut down on the crime...maybe there wouldn't be as much if the people that are supposed to keep this from happening did their job.

4) LOOK AT THE THINGS. What a way to make the school district look cheap. The things look like a piece of junk anyway. If the DISD wants to look good, which I think thats all they really care about...then wow!! what a way to make it look bad.

So, honestly, if DISD officials actually think that this is going to help make DISD safer and a better looking school district. WOW!!!

[Ed Note: Good points! The "clear backpack" policy will be left up to each campus' SBDM committee. Make sure your parents attend.]

Student Comment on Backpacks

It is nice to see a DISD student care enough to write his/her opinion in an open forum. You made some good points, however, you left a few things out.

Unless you are carrying a ton of books, the bags will hold. Many of our students aren't just carrying books, but extra clothes, music, phones, and God knows what else.

Now, it may not seem fair to compare the students of today with 30 years ago, but I will.

In the 1970's, anyone with a book bag--as we called them--was a geek or a nerd. Somehow, I rode two buses to get to my high school (without a book bag). And yes, I carried heavy BOOKS. Several, every day. I survived.

As for security, yes, it can be weak. THAT is more of an issue for the parents to discuss than backpacks.

Oh, and Garza's little stunt to have the DISD pay for the packs was to sink it. If they want to pay for something, it should be birth control.

[Ed Note: I remember going to school. I had to walk miles in the snow, barefoot--walking uphill: in both directions! Yes, I carried a book bag.]

Tardies and Sagging

If you were going to court over tardies, you weren't interested in going to class in the first place. Because when you get to that level, you had to have skipped school WAY too much for a judge to care about tardies.

Most judges only care about absences not tardies. The state doesn't even care about how many tardies you have.

There is nothing wrong with the 5 min. passing period. Problems arise for students when you have the following:

1) SLOW WALKING KIDS-I have seen kids walk so slow that you can lap them four times before the tardy bell rings. I have even seen a kid push another out of the way so the 20 kids could get by him. He was walking so slow. And no the kid in question wasn't sagging.

2) Sagging pants-some kids could get to class if they didn't spend half the time pulling up their pants.

3) Leaning on the wall-you have kids that will lean on the wall and block up traffic.

4) You have some kids that need to LOSE WEIGHT. If you are out of breath walking from room 101 to 102, you need to get out some more.

[Ed Note: What do you think about the new round of anti-sagging laws that seem to be becoming very popular? If things are getting to the point where "obscene" is a descriptor, is this something the School Board should be concerned with?]

Sagging pants

The DISD board already dealt with it. They tried. They really did. So, standardized dress was brought in partially due to that. It has helped some.

What will end it is fashion cycling this ridiculous fad out of existence. Oh, and parents who buy clothes that FIT their kids.

You should see some of the things parents wear to school. Some moms show up, and I don't know if I should shake their hand or try to find a spot for a dollar bill to go in. Some dads sag worse than their kids.

You can't teach self-respect to kids whose parents don't get it, either.

Problem with Clear Backpacks

I have a child entering Junior High next year and upon telling him about the district going to clear backpack and the reasons for it, he said "Mom, the cheese is so little, they'll put it in their pockets. "That has nothing to do with having clear backpacks".

You're right.

I have a copy of a letter from Charlotte Lewis with Gang Intervention, stating that Cheese was a problem Spring 2006.

Why can't the district for once, see there's a problem and be proactive and educate students and parents not push to hold community forums after the deaths of many students.

I know R.T.Hill held a Community Forum back in March.

It was POORLY ATTENDED and wasn't even put on their marque.

I don't get it.

You should want to get the word out, especially to your feeder schools and some of those parents were not even aware the meeting had taken place.

What has happened to the Crimestoppers Program that Hinojosa says is suppose to be in every school.

It hasn't been at Hill the past 3 years.

When I talked to the security division, they told me they had been in schools with Hinojosa and area superintendents when they saw Crimestopper posters in the trash and knew they weren't doing the program.

There AGAIN: Who are the principals accountable to and why aren't the rules enforced. It might of saved even one child and grieve to their family.

I also attended the Board Mtg. and like one speaker commented: "students could pick up the wrong backpack,or have expensive calculators taken out."

Once the first ones break, will the district buy the 2nd one, too?

[Ed Note: As we've said before, taxpayer money appears to grow on trees, to many folks.]

Backpacks and Catch 22's

Parents! Parents! Parents! The Clear backpack issue is a "Catch 22"

Some agree we should have them to see what "a child" is bringing "to school" example a knife, drugs, gun, etc etc,.
Some disagree that a "clear backpack" makes you vulnerable to attacks and robberies"

Both could happen (hence the "Catch 22").

Not only does the school see what you have in the clear back packs, but so can everyone else--which could be a big problem.

Everyone can see everything--especially your valuables.

[Ed Note: Good points.]

Many Headed Hydra

Do you ever get the feeling that DISD, and government in general, never really gets to the heart of an issue?

Take this backpack thing. Is this really going to make that big a difference?

What we're really talking about is improving efficiency right?

If the bags are clear, the staff won't have to spend the extra time opening them up in the mornings.

So far we've got metal detectors, id badges, uniforms, and now see-through book bags. School administrators can hack off all the heads they want, but are they really dealing with symptoms and not problems.

Maybe it's not their job.

Maybe an opportunity for the district and city to work together will come in the form of greater cooperation vis-a-vis security--but probably not.

And how wonderful for administrators to make such a point about backpacks being optional.

Don't they realize kids have selective hearing?

I saw some stats from someone about the "success" of clear book bags at Marsh and White.

The statistic I want to see is "how many kids are carrying book bags now versus before the change to clear/mesh."

How many kids are exercising their option not to carry a bag because clear/mesh bags just aren't cool. "But Dad, we don't have to carry backpacks. The principal said so."

Lastly, I would like to thank the district for making this announcement the day before the board was scheduled to vote on the issue.

Did you know that to speak at a board meeting you have to sign up by 5:00 the day BEFORE the meeting?

Thanks DISD for encouraging debate!

[Are you trying to say: "your tax dollars at work!" Excellent points.]

Clear Backpacks

Once again the board members that we elected are making decisions based on what they want and not what the parents or the students want.

Last night's vote to mandate clear backpacks was just a formality.

My son was told on yesterday that if he carried a backpack next year it would be clear.

Very nice cardstock flyers were already pre-printed and sent home with the students yesterday as well as letters dated May 23,2007 announcing the change.

Maybe someone besides me would like to know why items were printed and announcements were made on an agenda item that was to be approved/voted on last night.

What this indicates is that the "powers that be" had some advance notification that the vote on agenda item #60 was going to go their way.

I am sure that once I dig (and I guarantee you I am going to dig), I will find that more than one policy was broken in this matter.

The manner in which this situation was handled makes me ask: "how many other crucial decisions have already been decided upon before the official board meetings."

The parents that spoke last night should be outraged because, once again, those that we elect are obviously unconcerned about what we want or think.

DISD's motto seems to be: "parents are to be seen, not heard".

There are so many things wrong with the way things are handled in DISD that if more parents don't demand audience, we are soon going to find ourselves (if we're not already) excluded from decision-making.

We need to pack the next board meeting and demand this policy be changed!

I hope to see many at the June 28, 2007 meeting to approve the 2007-2008 budget.

[Ed Note: Very good questions. I hope you'll follow through on getting information as to who "pre-authorized" this, and when these flyers were printed. Here's a link to FAQ's regarding the Texas Public Information Act.]

Shocked over Clear, Uniforms

I, too, was shocked when I received this expensive notecard stating that our kids were to use clear backpacks next year and it had not even been voted on.

Do they actually believe that we, as parents, are stupid?

I had a parent question the assistant principal at our school regarding this and asked what about girls in middle school who need to carry personal items to school?

She told her to put it in a separate make-up bag.

I'm sorry, I thought this was for security purposes and you just told her to put a separate make-up bag in her backpack.

Now she can carry her small knife and cheese in her makeup bag. What a genius idea!

Also, our school decided to change our dress code policy.

I am in favor of uniforms, but not uniforms that require only one style of pants for boys and one for girls.

We asked where will the children need to purchase these and what about those that can't afford to buy these one-type pants?

Imagine this: no answer.

It's so frustrating being a parent these days.

Follow this rule set by the DISD, follow this rule set by the trustees, follow this rule set by the school principal.

Sadly enough, they are never on the same page.

[Ed Note: I hear you. But what we fail to recognize is that there is an inherent cost of living--including sending our kids to school. I did a little research and found that uniform pants (purchased at Target, WalMart, etc. or online) were about 1/2 the cost of blue jeans and other "pop" wear that we were buying our kids before uniform policies were implemented. So when you look at it from that perspective, you're really saving money! I'd encourage you to look, pragmatically, at your kid's clothing budget. Are uniforms (put into context) really that expensive--comparatively? If it would help, we can post some links to online suppliers for parents to consider.]

Griping Parents

Oh, for Pete's sake! If a girl needs a feminine product, she will carry it in her purse! Get a grip! They have PURSES!

The backpack rule is sensible. You try to half way search the packs of over 1,000 kids in under 12 minutes, since so many wonderful parents drag their kids to school at, oh, 8:20, knowing school starts at 8:35 or 8:40.

It will reduce headaches.

Before, the kids brought all kinds of junk to school. Now, they will bring only the essentials. Teachers can more safely put their hands in packs--unlike before, which made many teachers not even search any bag.

The parent who spoke against the packs came from Woodrow Wilson. Those Lakewood parents think that their little Madison or Dustin will never do anything wrong, and they argue against ANY safety issue.

Jerome Garza is clueless. His 83% of free lunch kids?

Ha!

80% of them have cell phones better than mine. Shoes, too.

They can afford the packs. Gee, and you know what? How did they afford the ones they have now, anyway? Same with clothes. Not even the poorest kids came to school naked before.

Finally, the board has a meeting of the whole a week before, where most things are hashed out.

The majority of things are placed on the consent agenda for Thursday's meetings. We all knew it would pass, and the safety committee tried to get it passed earlier, to allow the info to be given out before school ended.

So, would you prefer to wait, then not find out until AFTER you bought a pack in August?

Again, geesh.

Yes, guns and cheese and all kinds of stuff can be hidden anywhere.

But you know what? I still have to take my shoes off at the airport, don't I? Get into 2007.

Better yet, volunteer to stand at the door and put your hands in literally 500 packs in 12 minutes.

[Ed Note: Let me ask you a related question: what good does it do having people take off their shoes, place gels and liquids in a plastic bag or remove their laptops from their neoprene cases? Does it do any good, or is it all for show (careful--I'm baiting you in!)?]

Parent with Brain

I'm glad to see a parent who has a brain--and one isn't afraid to say "no" to their kids to protect them.

It is kids who protest and seem to believe that the rules aren't made for them. Why not?

If it protects my child, I'll stand at the door and send kids home!

Thank you for voicing sensible thoughts.

The good it does

Oh, Allen, you aren't baiting me in. I totally agree that some security measures --at schools, airports --anywhere-- may be more cosmetic than helpful. However, as a teacher who has HAD to do duty at the front doors--HAD to put my hands in bags with unknown contents over and over--- this will HELP. Nothing is a cure-all, but it does help.

Volunteer to work the front doors of a high school for one week. Maybe you could see a better way of doing it. And I want you to put your hands into every single bag that comes through, do it completely right, AND get them through fast.

I can guarantee one thing: the reaction of the kids said it all. They were so opposed to it, because they knew they would have one LESS place to hids contraband. They ADMITTED as much.

And you know what? As for planes and all that--too bad. Liquids on board, no more scissors, etc... That may not stop a future attack with a plane, but it will prevent a repeat of a previous one. How would you like to lose a loved one on a flight from the exact same tactics used before--and nothing was done about it?

So, imagine the cry from parents if a school tragedy occurs, and the evidence shows the weapon was brought in a backpack, right through the front doors. Hmmm, I can hear it now, "How did they LET that happen?"

Again, thanks for hosting this forum.

[Ed Note: (Note to readers: I know the author of this comment, and she's a dedicated school teacher and activist [wish there were more like her]... so I'm taking editorial license and having a bit of fun with her! [translation: if I know you and like you, you're fair game!]) I continue...

I love it when I bait someone, they recognize it for bait and then they turn around and take it!

Well, actually X-Raying liquids does nothing because an X-Ray machine can't detect explosives in liquid (and most cases solid) form! It's all for show! It's the same thing with removing shoes.

But because of the publicity, there is awareness, and with awareness, there's also a false sense you'll be caught (realizing that I just made your point for you... you can get me back... please open your reply with "AH HAH!")!

What saves us is that these folks who want to do these things are (1) they are few and far between and (2) most are not exceptionally bright. Thanks to improved intelligence, it's also getting tough for these guys to train and hide.

Now, you might make the same claim about kids in the District who want to carry weapons or drugs in their backpacks.

But the bottom line is that if I want to get a weapon into a school, or carry crack or cheese, I can do it just as easily--if not easier! I know my clear backpack has less of a chance of being searched--because the goal is "speediness" and not "thoroughness!"

Of course, that's logic and logic does not necessarily represent reality.

The bottom line is: "yes" there is possibly of a marketing angle to this that may have a positive impact on carrying contraband. "Yes," it may give teachers and screeners a "warm fuzzy."

However, from a technical angle: (1) they're not any more safe and (2) they're more fragile than durable materials and (3) taxpayers probably won't realize the bang-for-the-buck (if there was some way to accurately measure it).]

Ah-hah!

Let's see what happens in August.

If you want safe schools, you have to take steps. Again, maybe clear packs may not work, but at least the issue is being addressed.

As for getting anything into a school, oh, yeah, easy. Schools in DISD were designed for the baby boomers, and the issues we have now weren't the same as the ones back then. In fact, backpacks were seen as "nerdy." Only geeks carried them.

The key here is parental involvement. What a lot of us would like to see is a proven method of getting these parents involved. Anyone have ideas? I mean, successful implementation in a "poor" school, not Townview or Arts or Greiner. Not the AP parents, either. I mean, the mama who was 15 when she had the kid and now works two jobs. The parents who are illiterate and don't speak English, so they have to trust their kid to tell them when to see a teacher--uh-huh.

Ah-hah! 2

You just stated the BIGGEST issue with Dallas ISD and most schools. It's not the parents of the kids at Townview, Arts, Atwell or Griener who are the issue.

It's the ones you talked about.

There is no way Dallas ISD can be a top district if those guys don't act like parents to their kids.

And it's not the ones that don't speak English causing most of the problems. They will for the most part try to get involve at some schools. It's the single mother at 12 or 15, the ones that collect checks and don't work, who are the ones not caring.

If the state of district want anything to work, they have to deal with these people first.

Uniforms: Not Bad

My intention was not that uniforms are bad.

I love uniforms.

They not only save me money, but they save me the headaches associated with popular clothing.

Our school is not giving us the choice of shopping at Target or Walmart.

Our pants must be pleated pants and shorts must follow the same rule.

No cargo or other form of navy, black, or blue pants.

Must have white or black shoes. Can be athletic, but no insignias.

All jackets must be navy or black.

I actually didn't think that was such a big deal until I went shopping for one.

The jackets cannot have any logos. ie: Old Navy, Gap, college logo.

I ended up having to purchase one at a full price at a department store.

My intentions were to point out that I would love to follow the DISD handbook on uniforms, not a school written policy chosen by a new administrator wanting to throw authority without parental input.

Uniforms

I don't think we should care what kind of sweaters or shoes we use as long as we wear uniforms.

Come on: it's just a sweater! It's just shoes! It doesn't hurt anyone!

"They" should be lucky we wear uniforms; but "they" are going to far with the solid shoes and the solid sweaters.

[Ed Note: I can drive my car down a highway at 100 mph, and be perfectly safe. Other drivers and passengers will have nothing to fear. Regardless, there's a rule (law) that says I can't.

The rest of your life you'll find to be filled with rules. Some you're going to like, and others you won't.

I'm with you on sweaters and shoes, but I understand the reason it was done.]

Uniforms

I can understand both sides of the uniform issues. Just remember that at certain schools you can't wear certain brands of jackets and shoes. There have been kids killed over wearing certain colors and brands of clothing.

Would you want to get a call that your child got killed because he was wearing Michael Vick shoes?

Now you as the parent can get a hardship or if you work for the district, can send your child to almost any school in the district.

Now there are some schools that abuse the dress code and ONCE again parents have to be vocal. And yes at certain schools they abuse the dress code. You know it's extreme when a child is crying because administrators (and wannabe administrators) bully them for wearing the same clothes as the other student body.

Shoes and Sweaters

The point of standardized dress is self-explanatory: STANDARDIZATION. If you allow any color sweater, guess what? The kids will wear their "favorite" sweater all day, every day, over their outfit.

Same with the shoes.

I will repeat what you said, "Come on, it's just a sweater! It's just shoes!" If you believe that statement, then get over it.

If you are defined by what you wear, then you have a weak personality. If you can conform to standardized dress, and yet you still stand out from the maddening crowd, then by Jove, you've got success ahead of you in life!

Not one high school that switched to standardized dress has regretted it. Two more, Bryan Adams and Woodrow Wilson, are going to it now. That leaves White, Skyline, Booker T. and Townview.

And you know, Skyline could use it.

Part of the reason it is so overcrowded is that gang-bangers driven out of other DISD schools go there now.

Parental involvement in decisions

It depends on what level school your kid goes to. High schools actually have to go through a lot to get standardized dress, but not the elementary and middle schools.

However, ALL schools have a SBDM (Site Based Decision Making) group and a PTA/PTO.

You should have received notices on that when the clothing changes went into effect.

As for no logos, I can see the point, but what is wrong with Target, if your principal is objecting to it? That is curious to know...

The logos on the shoes, well, BK has been interpeted by the kids as "Blood Killer." Other logos have been co-opted, sadly.

Oh, and we aren't allowed to refer to them as uniforms, because a uniform comes from one manufacturer, while standardized dress just gives specific requirements. The difference was meant to keep the DISD from having to fund all clothing.

So, check other schools like your kids. Ask them if they say the same thing. Or, call Dr Tuckey's office through the main office of DISD and see what he says!

Yes: Pre-Done Deal

You're right, this was a done deal before it ever reached a vote.

I was indignant enough over this to think about protesting, but knew it was a waste of time.

Last year the administration/board did the same thing: put a controversial item on the agenda either on the last week of school or worse, when vacation has started, hoping no one would notice.

Sometimes they surprise me with their cunning.

[Ed Note: Sometimes we surprise them too, though, eh? I've only posted a fraction of the comments we've gotten about this issue--and it hasn't even been up 24 hours.]

What nonsense!

This is going on my blog as well. The usual four votes passed this deal. Any reason why this was pushed when Blackburn and Price weren't at the meeting? Maybe this vote would've turned out different.

Michael Davis
Dallas Progress

Blackburn / Price Absences

Blackburn was at the meeting, but left during it.

Price was supposed to be there, but the plane was delayed because of the stormy weather.

No conspiracy, just facts.

[Ed Note: I thought Price was at a graduation. Either way: not his fault. I don't know why Blackburn left, but I thought someone said he had to be at a graduation.]

Support DISD, Question Decision

I support DallasISD, I send my kids there, but I am clueless as to why the administration and any board member would vote for this. It will NOT make my school safer,(well, maybe the AK47's will get caught), it will only send my kids the message DISD thinks they are hoodlums.

They were told "as you know, book bags are optional at DISD". Does this mean studying and doing your homework and coming to class prepared is optional too?

Apparently so.

[Ed Note: Until DISD parents demand change/accountability (and work to bring it forth), we'll have these kinds of decisions. 95% of us (I'm a DISD parent too) just ignore it and just pay the bill.]

Clear Backpacks - Student Perspective

I’m a DISD student and I can see many flaws in this argument.

The first problem is the cost and endurance of the bags. These bags are meant as novelties, so stores overcharge for them.

Most of them are made flimsy enough that they might last for 3-4 weeks of usage.

After a quick search, I found that the average price was about $20. That would mean about 9 backpacks per student per year, which totals about $180 per year.

For this price, you can get a high quality backpack that could last for 2-3 years.

I, as well as many of the students at my school, am required to carry 2-3 textbooks to and from school on a daily basis.

This means that a large burden is placed on our backpacks, which will prevent the backpack from lasting any decent amount of time.

However, this doesn’t take into account the security benefit gained with these backpacks.

Unfortunately, this benefit is negligible.

All of the high schools I know of, including the one that I go to, have 3 or 4 entrances completely unguarded that students use whenever they forget their ID badge, or want to bring in something they should not be allowed to bring.

In addition to this, some of the entrances with security guards don’t matter, because the security guards just don’t care enough to actually check the bags.

Giving us clear backpacks won’t actually make any difference in the security at my school.

DISD would do much better to use the money for the backpacks to improve the quality of the schools, or to improve security in a way that actually would make a difference.

[Ed Note: So, bottom line, do you think this improves security or just wastes money?]

What are they thinking?!

I absolutely agree. This in no way helps, it just wastes money and talk about being safer... how about being less safe. I have to take public transportation.

I take a bus, then the train, then another bus, not to mention the fact that I have to walk around from place to place, downtown and all over where there are those people just waiting for someone to mug. Or to ask for money.
Now I will feel even better when I'm walking around showing off my $100 calculator that is required or those $50 textbooks we have to carry.

This by far is the most unreasonable decision ever made. why should the board even make these decisions. It's just nine people that don't know anything about us... SPEAKING FOR US! What sense does that make? None to me.

Also, what are the security guards even for? I thought they were there to keep you safe which meant checking your backpacks every morning. This is absolutely stupid.

[Ed Note: It will be a site-based decision. Be involved at your school!]

Student: Clear Backpacks

Maybe as a student yourself you should quit complaining about changes that parents must put into effect to protect you from the stupid things kids do to fit in.

Maybe helping others realize that 5 years from now the BEST FRIEND you all are trying to impress with those tight pants or sneaking a knife into school would be long gone and you won't remember their name.

Maybe you should focus on being the best person you can be.

Then (we) parents would not need to implement protective measures to protect you, not only yourself, but the others around you.

I Can't speak for your mother but MY CHILD is worth more than 180.00 a year to me.

When our children change for the better then the world will change.

[Ed Note: Nice comment! However, there's still tenuous evidence that clear backpacks are the magic angel to protect our kids. I'm still concerned that we're giving parents/teachers a false sense of security--with taxpayers bearing the brunt of it.]

These backpacks help

These backpacks help tremendously with the security process.

We've had clear and mesh backpacks at T. C. Marsh M. S. and W. T. White H. S. for two years or more.

The first year, parents complained because they 1) already had a backpack or 2) the mesh ones were hard to find and expensive.

The schools sold clear ones at their cost for $6. Mesh bags are very easy to find now and for reasonable prices.

These schools, like most others in the district, have populations of 60% or more economically disadvantaged.

If it worked for these two, it ought to work at all others.

[Ed Note: Good to know the actual figures here. When we bought our son's clear backpack, it was almost $40]

Not The $6 Ones

I didn't say the $6 ones were stylish but the kids did use them.

Backpacks Worked There?

You say it worked for you at Marsh and White. Aren't they like the king and queen of North Dallas "cheese"? So how is it that they "are working"?

Confused about schools

TJ is the Ground Zero of CHEESE in the district, not White or Marsh.

CHEESE has been spreading. So, do nothing and see more kids die?

Does "Clear" Work?

The clear backpacks simply help to expedite the required security process so that fewer backpacks must be opened for search. Yep. Many forbidden items could and likely still get through but clear backpacks make the students work harder at concealing them.

As for "cheese." Unlike others, we were forthright in recognizing we had it so that we could address the problem to help the students who had no idea the drug they used was addictive and lethal.

W. T. White as about 2300 students. Marsh about 1300. My math is 2,385 and 1,285 aren't on "cheese,"

We believe ONE on "cheese" is too many and are proud to have announced the problem loudly.

[Ed Note: I applaud your efforts at controlling cheese (and other drugs). However, I'm not certain that I agree that clear backpacks make students work harder to conceal drugs.

One vendor, on the other hand, (here) seems to think that clear backpacks hung the moon! Of course, this vendor just happens to sell clear backpacks!

Students, on the other hand (according to this study), ranked "clear backpacks and no lockers" dead last with respect to effectiveness in curtailing drug use.

There seems to be some empirical evidence to suggest that clear plastic backpacks don't hold up as well as those made from sturdier materials--and the better ones tend to be more expensive (but, hey, taxpayers are going to foot part of the bill and our money grows on trees, right?).

With respect to contraband, logic seems to step forward: if someone wants to conceal something, then put it in something that isn't clear! With "speedier screenings," chances are less something will get searched.

Bottom line: clear backpacks are becoming popular in schools across the country. There seem to be many claims, but little evidence, that they're effective in curtailing contraband. They don't seem to hold up as well as sturdier materials, but if the taxpayers are footing part of the bill, what does it matter? Right?]