INDIANAPOLIS – Part of the excitement of returning to school is picking out your backpack for the year. The decision for students in MSD of Decatur Township is simple, clear, non-colored backpacks.
Clear backpacks are becoming a trend in schools nationwide.
In Decatur Township, it is part of an effort by the district to deter students from bringing weapons or any other unwanted items onto school campuses.
“One of our most important strategies is to see something say something,” said Emily Lemay, Director of Student and Family Engagement.
There will be no question as to what is inside students’ backpacks this year, and that’s the point.
“The purpose of the policy is to prevent any unsafe or unnecessary item from coming into our school,” Lemay said. “We know it is not the only solution to school safety, but it is one of multiple measures that support that goal for us.”
Lemay says clear bookbags had been discussed amongst administrators, but the decision was expedited after guns were found at two different school campuses within the district this school year.
“Many years ago, I would have been definitely against it, but today I am pro clear backpacks because we just don’t know the mindsets of this generation is,” said Ariana Richardson, whose children go to a private school in the area.
She says she thinks more schools in Indiana will start implementing similar policies when it comes to backpacks.
“Is it crazy that you even have to think about that with your kids,” asked reporter Sierra Hignite.
“It is, it is. But times have changed, so I got to change with it,” said Richardson.
Decatur Township has grown its School Resource Officer staff to 8 officers throughout the district and will conduct random metal detector winding and K-9 searches at schools. All clear backpacks will also be subject to search.
“As times change and the community changes, we just want to support safety for our kids. So we are going to be as proactive as possible,” said Lemay.
Students are still allowed to bring non-transparent lunch boxes to school, but they must meet specific size requirements and be no larger than 10 inches x 7 inches x 4
They can also check in non-transparent extracurricular bags for after-school activities.
The district is offering free clear backpacks for the first year. This new policy is in place. Each school has some to give out to families that want them. Just call your student’s school and let them know you’re interested.
Each school has a different protocol for how they are giving them out.
Families are welcome to purchase their backpacks if they meet the school’s requirements.
Click here to read the full policy.