Parkland students return from spring break to clear backpacks and TSA-style checkpoints
Students returning from spring break to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Monday were greeted with metal barriers and clear backpacks — new safety measures enacted in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at the school.
More than 3,000 translucent backpacks and lanyards for identification cards were distributed to Stoneman Douglas students on Monday morning. Students were told to report to school without backpacks. Those carrying sports equipment or band instruments were asked to leave them with teachers or coaches before the start of classes. Extra police officers have also been stationed at the school since the Feb. 14 massacre.
School officials say the mandatory backpacks and entry checkpoints are temporary, part of pilot safety program that may be enacted throughout the school district.
Many students mocked the backpacks in social media posts, with some attaching orange tags emblazoned with “$1.05” — an amount they say they derived by dividing the number of students enrolled in Florida’s schools by the money Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has received from the National Rifle Association.
See reactions on social media:
“My new backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda,” Lauren Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas freshman and younger sister of March for Our Lives organizer and senior David Hogg, tweeted. “As much as I appreciate the effort we as a country need to focus on the real issue instead of turning our schools into prisons.”
Others compared the pre-school check-in procedure to TSA lines at airports.
“This is literally so dumb,” Natasha, a junior, tweeted. “The clear backpacks and check points create this false sense of security. Anyone can easily hide a weapon in their pants or in a folder/binder.”
In a letter to Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, Holden Kasky, a special needs student at Stoneman Douglas, asked that school officials reconsider the see-through backpacks because, among other things, “it’s uncomfortable to girls ’cause girls have more private stuff/bathroom stuff.”
Runcie responded, saying administrators “will continue to re-evaluate & make changes” to the safety measures.
On Sunday night, Sarah Stricker, a freshman at the school, anticipated the reaction from one of her fellow students to the clear backpacks.
Peter Wang, 15, was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at the school.
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- Students across U.S. stage national walkout month after Parkland massacre