MSD Students Protest Clear Backpacks With A Poignant Price Tag

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“OK but how are clear backpacks going to protect Douglas kids from an AR-15,” said student upon returning to school with mandatory clear backpacks.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students returned to campus after the “March for Our Lives” and a week-long Spring Break, but they are finding it hard to adjust to the new security measures put in place— especially the widely resented clear backpacks.

It must have not been easy for students to walk into school and get greeted by armed police, wand detectors and clear backpacks. No wonder some students said the security measures made them feel like they were in prison.

The clear backpacks were a part of added security protocol at the high school, as outlined by the school district's superintendent Robert W. Runcie in a letter sent out on March 21. The regulations were placed after the February 14 school shooting in which 17 people were killed.

However, the notion of carrying clear backpacks have been unpopular amongst the students since the beginning as they correctly pointed it out the shooter wasn't a student, nor did he hide anything in a backpack.

Nevertheless, thousands of clear backpacks were distributed across Douglas.

Many students believe carrying clear backpacks is a stark reminder of the tragic incident and is a blatant invasion of their privacy.

"It's difficult, we all now have to learn how to deal with not only the loss of our friends, but now our right to privacy. My school was a place where everyone felt comfortable, it was a home away from home, and now that home has been destroyed," said junior Kai Koerber.

The shooting prompted the students to lobby for gun control and now some students are using the clear bags to make a political statement.

Koerber and others attached an orange price tag to their bags. The $1.05 tag is intended to protest politicians, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who accepted money from the National Rifle Association, by putting a price on each student.

"We are doing this in order to demonstrate the fact that we stand together on all issues, and that we, as a student body, refuse to be reduced to nothing more than dollars and cents," Koerber said.

“This backpack is probably worth more than my life,” read a note that a student, had penned and stuffed inside her bag.

The idea of using clear backpacks for security reasons is not something being practiced for the first time; schools across the country have enforced similar rules since at least the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

However, the widely held belief is, the clear backpacks isn’t a solution to gun violence howsoever, and many students think that instead of addressing the real issue such a measure is only window dressing.

“I hate the backpacks, and I think they solve nothing,” said Alyssa Goldfarb, a 16-year-old sophomore. “It’s more of a way of the county saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing something.’”

Several young school activists took their disaccord to Twitter.

In addition, the students are also stressing upon the fact how having transparent bags is an invasion of privacy as no longer menstrual products, prescription medications and clothing/undergarments can be hidden.

On the other hand, some students took a slightly lighter tone to mock these clear backpacks on Twitter.

Students of MSD aren’t wrong to think such a measure is meant to pacify them whereas the real issue continues to exist. Also, apart from physical impracticalities of it, such a safety measure may hugely affect the productive school environment.

Banner Image Credits: Reuters, Mary Beth Koeth

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