Every student in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) will be required to use a clear or mesh backpack next school year per an expansion of existing security protocols.
The district instituted a clear backpack policy for all secondary students (grades 6-12) for the 2022-2023 school year, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The move came just a couple of months after the deadly Robb Elementary School shooting last May.
“In our ongoing effort to ensure safer schools, Dallas ISD will require clear backpacks for all students starting in the 2023-2024 school year,” the district announced on its blog on Wednesday.
The announcement noted that the district would provide students with at least one “durable” qualifying backpack at no charge and that students would be permitted to bring a “small, nonclear pouch in their backpack to hold personal items.”
Several other school districts around Texas have instituted similar policies, including Manor ISD, Del Valle ISD, Kennedale ISD, Greenville ISD, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Harper ISD, Ingleside ISD, and DeSoto ISD, according to the Oak Cliff Advocate.
“A clear backpack policy alone does not ensure complete security,” DISD acknowledged.
That sentiment was shared by David Riedman of the K-12 School Shooting Database last year when the program was first piloted in DISD’s middle and high schools.
“When there’s a public outcry to do something, school officials are put in a very difficult situation of having to show that they’re doing something immediately. A clear backpack is something that you can hold it up and say, ‘Look, we’re trying.’ It’s just not a very effective measure for actually stopping anything,” Riedman told The Dallas Morning News.
DISD has struggled with keeping its campuses safe for students and staff, with a number of gun-related incidents occurring in the last year.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, a student was shot in the arm in the parking lot of a North Dallas high school back in March. Before that, an elementary school student managed to bring a handgun onto his campus last October. The firearm was discharged inside the school. Luckily, no one was injured.