Florida schools will only allow clear backpacks next year for school safety

One of the largest school districts in Florida will allow students to carry only clear backpacks next year in a measure aimed at increasing school safety.

Broward County Public Schools officials announced Friday that the new policy will go into effect on Aug. 21 and also includes lunch boxes, purses, duffel bags, and fanny packs.

The decision, which affects more than 260,000 students, comes more than five years after 17 were killed during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which is in Broward County, only allowed see-through backpacks in the five months following the shooting before scrapping the policy in August 2018.

“This added layer of security is a game-changer,” Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Earlean Smiley said.

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“It will allow school security personnel and everyone on campus to quickly spot and report if someone has brought a prohibited item to school, and it will also help serve as a deterrent.”

There will be a few exceptions to the rule, according to the announcement.

clear backpacks
The rule change will only apply to students and not staff, teachers, volunteers or visitors.
Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Students will be allowed bring small non-transparent pouches for personal hygiene items, thermal food containers, and school-approved cases for either athletic or band equipment.

Some students told CBS Miami that they are not thrilled with the change.

“I don’t like it. Like the people is looking at what I have in my backpack, you know, I don’t feel great with that,” one student said.

Clear backpack.
Broward County Public School officials made the announcement Friday.

“Honestly, I think it’s not fair for the people who are unrelated to any gang stuff and bad things in general,” another said.

“I think it’s an invasion of privacy. If they really are going to bring guns and stuff to school, I think that they will find a way to like, to bring them, and so I don’t think the clear backpacks are a good reason.”