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Students in a Dallas school district must wear clear backpacks after Uvalde shooting

A Dallas Independent School District bus departs L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary school after dropping off students, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Dallas.
Tony Gutierrez
A Dallas Independent School District bus departs L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary school after dropping off students, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Dallas.

The Dallas Independent School District, the second largest in Texas, will be requiring students to wear clear or mesh backpacks to school in the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting.

Students from grades 6 to 12 will have to wear see-through backpacks beginning in the 2022-2023 school year to "ensure that prohibited items are not included among the students' belongings," the district said Monday.

"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," it said.

Though, students' bags may still be searched at the discretion of staff.

The bags must be completely clear and not have a colored tint to them. Middle schoolers' bags must not exceed 12 inches wide by 16.5 inches tall and 5 inches deep, while high schoolers' bags must not exceed 13 inches wide by 17.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches deep.

Students can carry a small non-clear pouch in their backpacks to store personal items, such as money, cellphones and hygiene items, the statement said.

The district will provide a clear backpack to students before the year begins. Those who haven't picked one up before the first day of school will be given one, and their old backpacks will be stored in the main offices of the district's schools until a parent or guardian is able to pick it up.

The decision was made using a parent and student survey, as well as by the district's internal and external safety task forces, which are comprised of "principals, teachers, security professionals, parents and community members," the district said.

"We recognize that requiring clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate all safety concerns," it said. "Improving school safety will require multiple measures to make our schools as safe as possible."

Nearly two months ago, an 18-year-old gunman walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire, killing 19 students and two teachers.

A recently published report by the Texas House of Representatives found that " "systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making" on behalf of law enforcement and school officials failed to stop the shooter.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials prioritized their own safety over the lives of students and teachers that day as they waited more than an hour to confront the shooter, the report said.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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