Broward County Public Schools
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Broward County (Fla.) board drops plan to require clear backpacks and bookbags for students

June 14, 2023
Since the district announced the policy last month, many parents and students have raised objections.

Reversing a controversial policy announced last month, the Broward County (Fla.) school board has voted to rescind a rule that would have allowed only clear backpacks for students.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports the board vote came during a town hall where most of the audience said they were opposed to forcing students to have clear backpacks.

The board initially made the decision to require clear backpacks for the 2023-34 school year in a closed-door session March 28. The plan was announced publicly May 5 and led to a widespread backlash and efforts by parents to reject or delay it.

Among the arguments opponent of the policy put forth during the town hall: Clear backpacks are bad for the environment, are poorly made, offer a "false sense of security" and increase the risk of theft and bullying.

Some criticized the lack of uniform enforcement that was proposed. Most students would have been required to have clear backpacks but employees and visitors wouldn't. Students with sports and band equipment would also be exempt.

"I would like to say that I find it absurd that volunteers, visitors and staff are exempted," Plantation High student Carlos Lopez Jr. said. “These policies are suggesting students are solely responsible for the shootings that occurred.”

Few studies have shown clear backpacks decrease weapons and violence on campus, and one frequently cited study concluded clear backpacks might increase the threat of violence because it signals to students they can't be trusted.

"I came over to hear evidence for clear backpacks," parent Nicole Stanford said. “Where is the compelling evidence? It wasn't presented, because I don't believe there is any.”        

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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