Long Island school requires students to use clear backpacks

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Thursday, April 19, 2018
NY school requires students to use clear backpacks
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Reporter CeFaan Kim has the latest on the safety initative.

EAST ROCKAWAY, Long Island (WABC) -- A school on Long Island is requiring middle and high school students to use clear backpacks as part of new safety measures in the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.

"As you know, the safety of your children and the staff is our top priority," interim principal Niel Lederer said in a letter to parents. "To that end, we are constantly evaluating our safety measures to ensure that they are as effective as possible."

East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School distributed the clear backpacks to 550 students on Monday and Tuesday.

Lederer said students must use the clear backpacks or no backpacks while on school grounds during academic hours. The directive does not affect sports bags, but Lederer said officials were evaluating how they'll handle large events like plays and concerts.

Some students are wearing them, others are refusing. One of them is senior Jessica Fraumeni.

"What, they're going to tell me, you're wearing a bag? OK, check it. I have nothing to hide," she said. "There's younger girls in our grade, and girls who just hit puberty don't want to hear comments about pads and tampons that's clearly in their bag. And also, people who go to work and stuff. I have money on me. I don't want people seeing my wallet and possessions I have on me. I don't really like that."

Others would prefer not to have to wear them.

"I'm not really too much of a fan of it, but I could care less," senior Kevin Howard said. "It's just another day at school."

The bigger issue is that he's not exactly sure how it makes students safer.

"The kid can easily just hold a knife in his pocket," he said. "But they're just trying to limit the percentage I guess."

As for the consequences for not following the rules, it's not entirely clear what will happen to those who refuse to comply. But students say they have been getting warnings this week. They'll see what happens next week.

The school did not charge students for the bags, and the cost the district was more than $3,000.

The Parkland massacre in February was carried out by a teenager who brought an assault weapon in a large bag. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are also now required to carry clear bags while on campus.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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