(CBS Local) – As parents and children around the country begin heading back to class, more and more schools are banning backpacks from their buildings.
More education officials are forbidding their students from using bags and purses while on school grounds, as a result of the rise in school shootings. High schools in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, and other states have all sent word to parents that their children will have to carry their books to and from class this fall.
“The decision wasn’t made lightly, we had a committee that started discussing changes back in January,” Principal Misty Heiskell of Dalhart Intermediate school in Texas told KFDA. “We did put it on our school supply list so parents wouldn’t purchase backpacks, we wanted to make sure the word was out there.”
The Texas educator added that a student brought an eight-inch knife to class last year. “Safety is our number one priority here at Dalhart Intermediate and all schools in the district.”
Rock Island High School in Illinois also banned backpacks as students returned to class on Aug. 2. Bags and purses will be required to stay in lockers during school hours. Rock Island reportedly claimed that their decision was based on backpacks taking up too much room in class.
Other schools have been much more open about the security policy changes, saying students need to “feel safe” while in class. Seventeen people were killed in a Florida mass shooting when expelled student Nikolas Cruz returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 assault rifle in a duffel bag on Feb. 14, officials say.
“I get it. I feel like they have to do something, like some security measures. At least they’re trying something new,” Tessa Lark told CBS New York after the East Rockaway School District mandated that their students use a clear, see-though backpacks.
“We have to change with the times. It’s a different world we live in, and unfortunately we have to adapt and change with it,” Randy Boggs of Ohio’s Symmes Valley School District told WSAZ.