Clear backpacks handed out to students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Students say change gives them 'false sense of security'

PARKLAND, Fla. – Thousands of clear backpacks were handed out to students Monday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The new backpack rule is a mandate from the Broward County School Board as officials try to address some security concerns on the Parkland high school campus following the Feb. 14 massacre that left 17 people dead.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers have been staged around the school's campus to keep it secure.

Students are now used to seeing the added police presence.

They were on spring break for more than a week, and Monday was their first day back.

The students have had to deal with the trauma of the mass shooting, plus a deputy caught sleeping on the job and a pair of students being arrested on weapons charges following the incident.

On Monday, student Sarah Chadwick tweeted out a photo of the clear backpacks that every single one of her classmates had been given, which were handed out to students during second block.

Students were told to bring some folders and spiral notebooks to school, but to leave their own original backpacks at home.

The superintendent said sports equipment and musical instruments may be carried in non-clear bags but will be searched.

The change is not sitting well with many students.

Responding to someone else's tweet, student Josh Gallagher wrote: "This clear backpack idea is to give us kids a false sense of security and now has enraged most of the students here at MSD."

The sentiment among the most vocal of students is the fact that everything in the bag will be revealed, such as prescribed medications or perhaps feminine products for teenage girls.

"It's an invasion of privacy, for sure," junior Kacey Bartley, 17, said. 

Lauren Hogg, of the Never Again movement, said she appreciates the effort, but as a country we need to focus on the real issue instead of turning our schools into prisons.

"It just gets people mad, because the fact that, like, it happened to us and they're making us feel like prisoners," another student, Juliana Campos, said. "Like, it doesn't make any sense. I feel like I'm at a jail."

Metal detectors will also be placed at the school and all students will have to wear their student IDs and use only one entrance.


About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.