A Dallas school district is mandating clear backpacks for its students in the wake of Texas’s worst school massacre in state history.
While the new directive wouldn’t have stopped the teenage gunman involved in the Uvalde massacre in May, students across the country have been known to stash deadly weapons in their backpacks, so the move could help stem future violence, proponents say.
“Students in sixth through 12th grade will be required to use clear or mesh backpacks. Other bags will no longer be allowed,” said the Dallas Independent School District — the second largest school district in the Lone Star State — in a statement Monday.
“By being able to easily see the items in the backpacks as students enter the school, campus personnel will be able to ensure that prohibited items are not included among the students’ belongings,” the district said on a Web page created to explain its decision.
“Clear or mesh backpacks will also speed up students entering the school at the beginning of the day because opening and inspecting every backpack may not be necessary.”
“We acknowledge that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns. This is merely one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety.”
The district said the move was recommended by its Safety Task Force and Internal Task Force.
The requirement will go into effect when students return to class in August.
The announcement comes a day after the release of a damning report on how nearly 400 law-enforcement officers failed to act for more than an hour before taking out the gunman in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. The report by a special Texas House committee also chronicled other failures by the Uvalde school district related to the slaughter.
Second in size only to the Houston Independent School District, the Dallas ISD is an influential district in the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth area, home to about 7.6 million people. The district is often the first to implement school policies, and other districts in the region often follow.
The district said it plans to give a free, clear backpack to each student in sixth grade and over before the school year starts.
Students will be allowed to carry one 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches non-clear pouch to hold personal items, such as cellphones, money, and hygiene products.