There’s one item some parents can cross off their back to school shopping list this year: backpacks.
Dalhart Intermediate School won’t have backpacks this year.
At the end of last year, the school’s Campus Performance Committee discussed the kind of changes they could implement for this year and the principal and the committee think backpacks pose a safety hazard.
The principal told us that’s just one of the many factors leading to this decision.
For one, she said many of their students bring backpacks with extra and unnecessary items inside or sometimes empty backpacks.
She also said when students put their backpacks on the floor, fellow students can trip on them.
Transparency is another reason why she said it’s a safety hazard. She said with backpacks, you can’t see what a student is carrying, whether if it’s a weapon or any other dangerous item.
Theft is another issue she said they had with students and their backpacks.
The principal said students would steal items and hide them in backpacks.
She said it’s a matter of health as well because students were bringing in bugs like lice and cockroaches to school.
As you can expect, there’s been some mixed reviews with this decision.
“But we know, anytime there’s a policy change people are going to be uncomfortable with it, change is hard. And we get set in our ways and we’re used to the same old routines and we understand that. We just think this policy, this change is for the better of our students and our school,” said Misty Heiskell, Dalhart Intermediate School Principal.
Heiskell said there are some concerns regarding students who ride bikes.
She told us for those specific cases if a parent comes and talks to her about the issue she said she’s okay with adjusting the policy so the student can bring either a cinch sack or something small like a trapper keeper with a strap.
This would be housed in their office, off the floor and not be taking up space in the classroom.
Ultimately she said this move will save parents money by not having to buy a backpack and it’s one way to cut expenses on school supplies.
This change isn’t set in stone just yet.
Heiskell told us currently they’re doing this on a trial basis, letting the community get a feel for it.
Although she said they normally don’t assign homework outside of daily reading, Heiskell said students will have homework folders.
They won’t take textbooks home.
She said they’re consumable, so the pages tear out.
This backpack policy is not in effect on other Dalhart campuses.