Broward County’s clear backpack policy to be discussed in safety town hall meeting
Plantation, Florida – The Broward County School Board and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) are hosting a safety-focused town hall meeting that will provide a platform for parents, staff, and community members to discuss a new policy regarding backpacks and bags for the 2023-2024 academic year. The meeting will take place on Monday, June 12.
In a recent announcement, BCPS stated that, effective from Monday, Aug. 21, 2023, the first day of the forthcoming school year, students will be allowed to carry only clear backpacks and bags, including lunch boxes, purses, duffel bags, and fanny packs, on school premises. The policy rules out colored and mesh backpacks, even if they are see-through.
Some exceptions are in place, such as small opaque pouches for personal hygiene products, insulated food containers that are stored within transparent lunch boxes, and school-approved carrying cases for athletic equipment and musical instruments.
According to an FAQ page on the BCPS website, the policy does not extend to staff, faculty, volunteers, and visitors.
The Safety Town Hall Meeting is slated to commence at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m., at Plantation High School, 6901 N.W. 16th St., Plantation. The event will be broadcast live for those unable to attend in person. Ahead of the meeting, the public is invited to submit questions or comments on [email protected].
Broward School Board Member Daniels Foganholi has recently discussed the introduction of the policy. He stated, “Here in Broward County, we meet the standard for safety, and I believe as a board we don’t just want to meet the standard but set the standard. I believe that we are going to push to not only be the safest district in Florida, but we want to be the safest district in the country.”
Foganholi acknowledged some of the criticism surrounding the transparent backpack requirement, with critics claiming it violates the Fourth Amendment by invading students’ privacy and imposes a financial burden on families. He responded by stating, “When it comes to clear backpacks, I understand that a lot of people feel that it’s a false perceived safety measure but for us, it’s a layer, a layer to make our district safer.”
This isn’t the first time the school district has mandated students to carry clear backpacks. A similar rule was briefly in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred there in 2018. However, the policy was discontinued in August of the same year.