Students rightfully upset: new backpack policy causes problems

Editorial Staff

At one point or another, we’ve all lied about being late to class due to hallway traffic congestion. As with any good lie, we mixed in a bit of truth––the hallways really were obnoxiously full of slow moving people––and, as with any lie, it has finally caught up to us. Perhaps the administration’s quiet decision to revoke our right to backpacks (or, in some girls’ cases, large purses) in the name of reducing hallway traffic is the universe’s way of getting back at the student body for that age-old lie. Whether karma is to blame for this newly backpack-free BSM or not, we feel that this particular rule change has been ill planed, ill explained and poorly executed.

The administration has claimed that the reasons for implementing the rule change were 1) to reduce hallway traffic, 2) to reduce classroom clutter, and 3) to promote student health. While all three of these issues are certainly valid concerns, the move to eliminate backpacks has either failed to help or worsened these issues.

The case for the failure of the first objective––reducing hallway traffic––is not a difficult one; all any student needs to do is stroll down the main hallway to see that congestion is worse than ever before. With more and more students at their lockers, BSM’s already thin hallways lose another two to three feet on each side to people retrieving the books they would have normally already had with them. Truly, our entire school day has begun to mimic the end-of-school rush our hallways got everyday last year.

The reduction of clutter in the classroom has not improved either. With no bags to keep students’ belongings organized in, strewn and misplaced folders, notebooks, and papers have become more of a problem for the students who lose things and the teachers that pick them up.

Given the obvious failures of the rule’s published goals, we have come to believe that the administration had undisclosed reasons for pushing through this backpack ban; namely, to keep students from being able to throw around their bags with the laptops in them. If this is, as we suspect, the case, then the rule becomes even more ridiculous as we already have policies on laptop damage and don’t need a superfluous ban to keep us from doing things we would be punished for anyway.

Worse than failing at its intended goals however, is the fact that this ban has caused even more unforeseen problems concerning both preparedness to class and tardies. While defenders of the rule change may claim that students should be able to adapt to a bag-free school day, plan accordingly to get to class on time, and remember all of our things, there is honestly no reason we should have to. Why make things more difficult than they need to be, just to make things like hallway traffic worse? Most students have a routine; a routine that involves backpacks. There is no reason to shake that up.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that this rule was basically snuck by the student body. While seminar upon seminar alerted us to iDay, laptops, and Wellness before they happened, nobody from the administration thought it prudent to have a sit down with the students and explain the benefits of the new rule; we never had a Wellness day on how backpacks were hurting our backs. No warnings or chances for duologue were offered at all, the rule change just happened. Now we suppose it is the administration’s prerogative to make and change rules as they see fit, but at the very least we ask that they have the decency to not treat us like children, and explain their actions to the students they will be affecting.