Parkland Comes Back with Clear Backpacks, Students are Not Happy


The clear backpacks distributed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, photo taken by Sarah Chadwick and posted on her twitter (@sarahchadwickk)

Finn Hogan, Contributor

Upon their return from their spring break, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were greeted with new safety policies in response to the shooting that took place almost two months ago. Several students in the school have voiced their disdain for the new regulations.

The staff distributed clear plastic backpacks to the students when they arrived at school on Monday morning, several students have already taken to social media and public protest.

“Starting off the last quarter of senior year right, with a good ol’ violation of privacy!” tweeted student Delaney Tarr. Another student, freshman Lauren Hogg, stated that “[her] new clear backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda.” Similarly to her brother David, a senior at Marjory Stoneman and one of the most vocal about gun reforms, Hogg doesn’t believe that these regulations are a step in the right direction; “As much as I appreciate the effort, we as a country need to focus on the real issue instead of turning our schools into prisons.”

Students at Marjory Stoneman see the backpacks as a meaningless gesture, an invasion of privacy, and a distraction from the main hope of the students; reformation of current gun laws.

Junior Kai Koeberer sees the bags as a reminder of who and what the community has lost over the past month; first their classmates and teachers, now their privacy and sense of safety. “It’s difficult, we all now have to learn how to deal with not only the loss of our friends, but now our right to privacy. My school was a place where everyone felt comfortable, it was a home away from home, and now that home has been destroyed.”

Several students have started using the backpacks as platforms for their protest. One such student, senior Carmen Lo, walked around school with a sign stuffed in her backpack that read “this backpack is probably worth more than my life”.

“We come to school to learn,” Lo told reporters. “So I don’t think that we should need to subject ourselves to these measures. We shouldn’t need to worry about our safety and our security while we are at school.”

Students have also begun to wear bright orange price tags on their backpacks labeled “$1.05”, referring to a public statement that a fellow student of theirs had made during a speech directed to Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. This student, Sarah Chadwick, directly called for change. Chadwick came to this price when she estimated that Rubio gets about $3.3 million from the National Rifle Association, which is approximately $1.05 for each of Florida’s 3.1 million students. “Is that all we’re worth to these politicians?” Chadwick tweeted a photo of a few of the backpacks with the price tags on them, tagging Marco Rubio as a way to bring attention to the cause. Rubio, though he does not support several of the student’s ideal policies, had previously stated that he supports the students right to protest for a “gun ban” although has yet to respond to this most recent statement.

Some of the students at Marjory Stoneman have told reporters that they would be more open to the clear backpacks if other regulations were put in place as well, such as metal detectors. 

In a letter to the district last month, Marjory Stoneman Superintendent, Robert Runcie, told families the safety precautions that the school was planning on taking after the establishment of clear backpacks and identification badges. The additional precautions include the introduction of metal detectors present in school entrances as well as more Florida Highway Patrol officers. Runcie stated that the new precautions were to “fortify” the building and make the students feel safer. As the American people scramble to keep school safety a priority, the movement progresses…