Clear backpacks will be required for older students in Dallas, as the school system makes safety adjustments following the elementary school shooting in May in Uvalde, Texas.
The backpacks, which can be mesh, will be provided to each student in grades 6 through 12 in the Dallas Independent School District at the start of the school year.
“We acknowledge that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns,” the school system said. “This is merely one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety.”
Students will be allowed to carry a small, non-transparent pouch in their backpacks for personal items, the announcement said.
The school district said the decision to require clear backpacks was made with recommendations from its Safety Task Force and its Internal Task Force, along with feedback from students, parents and community members.
A number of school districts in the state have made similar moves.
CNN reported that school systems in and around San Antonio — such as the Southside Independent School District and the Harper Independent School District — implemented the requirement in June. The Ingleside Independent School District near Corpus Christi and the Greenville Independent School District 50 miles outside of Dallas also have employed the change.
However, the policy might be more of a cosmetic improvement to school safety, according to crime and safety experts.
A group of criminologists and former police officers spoke with WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, after two of the city’s suburban school districts adopted a clear backpacks policy last week.
The experts’ simple answer was that clear backpacks won’t do anything to make a school safer. They said that students would still be able to smuggle weapons into a school by cutting out a book or wrapping it in a piece of clothing.
Multiple outlets reported that Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018, made a similar requirement for its students once they returned to school after their spring break that year.
The policy was scrapped months later.