Cy-Fair ISD announces policy requiring high school, middle school students to use clear backpacks

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In an email sent out to Cy-Fair ISD parents and guardians June 21, CFISD Superintendent Mark Henry announced the district will require all high school and middle school students to use clear backpacks during the 2018-19 school year.

Elementary school students will still be allowed to use regular backpacks. Additionally, students will still be permitted to use band bags, athletic bags and drill and cheer team bags, but students must store them immediately upon arriving at school.

“We are living in a difficult time requiring difficult decisions from school districts,” Henry wrote in the email. “While these changes present an inconvenience to our students and parents, we must continue to be vigilant to protect the safety of our students and staff.”

There are no size requirements placed on the backpacks. However, the maximum purse size permitted in grades 6-12 has been set at six inches by nine inches. Additional details on design and other restrictions can be found on the district website.

The decision was made with input from a safety and security committee that began meeting earlier this month and will continue meeting throughout the summer. Henry said any additional safety or security plans will be communicated to parents.

In a budget passed June 14, CFISD officials included $1 million in local funding to enhance school safety measures. A $500,000 increase for the CFISD Police Department also includes money to hire six additional officers, two dispatchers, a security systems specialist, a records clerk and two canines.

“At this time, our plans for this funding are not definite, but we do know that we want to establish a districtwide crisis response team,” CFISD Chief Financial Officer Stuart Snow said at the meeting. “The additional funding may also [cover]many other things such as the increased use of and the purchase of more metal detectors, additional mental health services, additional police officers and canines, the expansion of counseling services and the expansion of mental health evaluations to identify students at risk of harming others.”

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  1. IMO a completely useless change…anything can easily be concealed given the binders, books and sports bags that can be brought into school. Especially middle school girls will now have to deal with concealing their toiletries from mockery.
    This has nothing to do with safety unless metal detectors are installed, start times are staggered to avoid hundreds of students at the same time thru doors etc.

  2. Clear backpacks are insignificant, but metal detectors (which have not been approved from what I understand) would be a step (many layers are needed) in the right direction (one of the first and the worst school massacre in the US was back in 1927, killing 44 and injuring 58, and did not involve any knives or guns). If you are so concerned about knowing what the students were carrying (keeping in mind that some school killings occurred well after first period by non-students), then you would be thorough and search all belongings and pat everyone down. You also would not allow everyone and their cousin to just stroll into the school after being buzzed in, without any verification, which I see every single time I go there. This has been going on for over a century and nothing will ever change because you are not willing to do what it takes to put an end to it. Everyone knows that and all we can hope for every time there is something on the news is, “Dear God please not my child’s school.” If an idiotic thug teenager can figure out how defenseless our schools are and kill our children, what makes you think clear backpacks are going to change their minds? Let me know when you’re actually serious about defending our schools. Again, school districts are not willing to do what it takes to put an end to this.

  3. I agree with most parents that metal detectors are needed in every school. I would love to see some of our taxes and all PTA funds go towards that in order to keep our children safe in school. I do like the clear backpack policy as I believe it will help with other issues such as the distribution of drugs in our schools. No one thinks of it as an immidiate threat but if we can help control the distribution of drugs in our schools, why not? It’s important, not just for school officials, for us as parents to know what is in our children’s backpacks. I know clear backpacks will not solve this issue either but anything that helps and makes it a bit more difficult to hide is good with me. I also think police presence, k-9 units, additional security cameras, and continuous practices of drills will also help but not solve the issue at hand. I will definitely agree with everyone else and think the only thing, in addition to the above measures, that will solve such senseless school massacres is to install metal detectors in our schools.

  4. Clear backpacks are only an inconvenience for students and parents. Just about anything can still be concealed within the normal contents, ie binders and books, of the backpack. Not to mention those bags are cheaply made and don’t stand up to the weight of books or everyday wear and tear.

    I can see some benefit in metal detectors and recourse officers. Perhaps even some policy change in regards to accessing school premises.

    There is a much deeper issue here than what kids are and aren’t allowed to bring to school. The growing number of restrictions being placed on our kids, cause more anxiety. That combined with the social pressure, and the emotional roller coaster experienced at this age can create an unstable atmosphere for the kids. We won’t fix anything by further intrusion of there already limited privacy, by forcing the use of clear bags. These kids are at a point in life where they’re trying to establish themselves as capable individuals. Fighting this natural progression could have negative impacts.

    Our problem starts in the home. Parents are sending kids with no morals or respect to schools for someone else to deal with. This puts schools in a difficult position. I have to give credit to those individuals who work in our schools trying to educate and better our children. That job has unfairly been expanded to a role much more just teaching. Parents need to step up and be parents. But that’s a whole different topic.

    Let’s just consider what would clear backpacks actually solve. Not much.

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Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.
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