DECATUR TOWNSHIP, Ind. — It is now official: Clear backpacks only for students at Decatur Township Schools starting next school year.
It’s a new policy that’s part of a growing trend nationwide and part of the district’s bigger safety plan.
“Really it started as a discussion in our safety committee,” said Director of Student and Family Engagement Emily LeMay.
This comes after a gun was found at two different school campuses in the district this school year.
“Those were certainly a factor, but not the only factor in our decision process,” LeMay said. “We are always looking to improve school safety which is a high priority.”
LeMay said lunch bags do not have to be transparent, but must fit specific dimensions. Athletic bags are also allowed but must be dropped off at a designated location as soon as students enter the school.
There are some who have questions about the policy.
“We know what kids put into their backpacks,” said Julie Quesenbery. “Things like sweatshirts, drawstring bags and things that would actually hide what is inside the clear backpack.”
The district says the policy allows it to search any bags as needed.
Quesenberry, president of the Indiana School Resource Officers Association, said she doesn’t want this to be a burden for teachers and that she feels like there will be many questions that need to be answered.
“How do you police that? Teachers are there to teach,” said Quesenberry.
In response, LeMay said this is just part of its bigger plan to increase security at schools.
It now has seven school resource officers and also conducts random metal detector and canine searches.
“We know this is not the only solution to school safety,” LeMay said. “It is one of many strategies we all work on to keep our schools as safe as possible.”
Which is something everyone supports.
“At the same time, we all understand the why,” Quesenbery said. “The goal is to make kids safe.”
To review the full policy, click here.