FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Not having book bags during the last days before the summer break is already the norm for some schools. Officials are extending the policy to all public schools in Broward County starting on Tuesday.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright announced the measure on Monday saying it is meant to help avoid pranks and other disruptions.
“The majority of our schools usually do this anyway,” Cartwright said.
At Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the rule applies to some schools. Jaquelyn Calzadilla, the school district’s communication director, said the ban is customary at middle and high schools during the last three days.
“This year, the majority of elementary and K-8 schools are joining the practice,” Calzadilla said.
There are exceptions for students with special needs.
The announcement in Broward follows the arrests of two students, ages 16 and 18, who were accused of having weapons in their bookbags just outside a school on Thursday in Oakland Park, according to deputies.
Deputies found two loaded guns and two magazines inside the two bookbags abandoned at a gas station across from SunFire High School, at 2360 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
The two students arrested in Broward County are brothers who are facing charges of possession of a weapon on school property and illegally carrying a concealed firearm.
The arrests were concerning after a school shooting in Texas hit close to home for the survivors of the 2018 Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
The nation is following the aftermath of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 died — two teachers and 19 students — and 17 were injured. Just like the shooter in Parkland, the 18-year-old shooter in Uvalde was armed with an AR-15 rifle.