SOUTH BEND — South Bend schools will require clear backpacks in the coming school year.
The South Bend Community School Corp. is bringing the change as an added security measure beginning with the first day of school, Aug. 16. Mens Toiletry Bag
“Safety and security is our top priority in the district,” Superintendent Todd Cummings said, introducing the change during a Monday night school board meeting.
The clear backpacks will be required districtwide and at every grade level. Mesh backpacks will not be allowed, even if transparent. Students can, however, carry personal items in a small, non-clear pouch no bigger than 5.5 by 8.5 inches.
"Transparent bags will not solve every school's safety issues," said Eric Crittendon, the district's new security and emergency preparedness director. "But, it certainly serves as a deterrent for harmful and prohibited items."
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South Bend Empowerment Zone schools — including Coquillard, Harrison, Navarre, Warren and Wilson — moved to clear backpacks this school year in an effort to discourage students from bringing prohibited items to school and to reduce classroom distractions.
Weapons were found in students’ possession within the district's Riley and Jackson schools in two separate incidents on the same day last month. Officials recovered a handgun at Riley and a pellet gun at Jackson.
The district will provide students’ first clear backpack free of charge. Free bags will also be available at the district's annual Back to School Bash scheduled this year to take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Brown Community Learning Center.
An FAQ page with examples of bags that are allowed will be available on the school district's website at sb.school.
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