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.”