Social media has recently seen an influx of grievances that have been made by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school’s administration handed out clear book bags when school commenced after Spring Break. This new mandate was made in a reaction to make schools safer after the tragic events of Feb. 14. However, students feel as if these new regulations, such as a mandatory ID hanging on their necks at all times and a clear book bag, are an invasion of privacy and not what they are asking for in the March for Our Lives movement.
These clear book bags have shown to be small: very small, meaning it is a definite con to those who have to lug around heavy textbooks, folders, laptops, composition books, binders, pencils, pens and equipment for any particular extracurricular activity. Additionally, the material used in the creation of these bags cannot support the same weight that a normal book bag is created to hold; it is no secret that the everyday essentials of students weigh a lot, and they are most likely going to break the straps of the bag—meaning that these clear bags are a waste money and are not beneficial to the students.
“I carry a lot of things in my book bag, from my lunch to my sweater for my coldest classes to several binders, and sometimes my book bag seems like it is going to explode! I cannot imagine how some of these students are coping with such a small bag,” freshman Nicolas Musa said.
Aside from the size, which is not favorable, the new bags that students are now forced to use are made from plastic, which is highly flammable. It can be argued, that there is a very unlikely chance a bag will catch fire on a school campus, however, this does not include any other circumstance a student can find themselves in. Some students leave their book bags lying around, carelessly and anywhere, because they have bigger, more-demanding priorities that take most of their concentration. In a situation like this, anything can spill on top of the bag or even cause the bag to be damaged because the material is cheap plastic. Furthermore, the bags can be easily scratched, stretched on a very hot day and are very tight and uncomfortable for students to wear.
The students took no time to showcase their anger on Twitter and other forms of social media. One of the most mentioned reasons for disliking the transparent bag is that girls can no longer conceal feminine products in the tiny nooks of their bags. Tampons and menstrual pads are now completely in the line of sight of whoever takes a look at a female student’s bag. This is said to be a violation of privacy, and many students are not for it. It is hard enough for a female student to ask permission to use the bathroom for her feminine needs, but now everyone in her entire class needs to know and see when she digs into her bag to reach for a pad or tampon, making it understandable why these students are so upset. However, just because female students will no longer get to keep their business private, there are no guarantees that a student will not try to hide a weapon in a textbook or between binders or other items that are non-threatening—which reverts back to the main point that these bags are just a step in a long road to provide students full safety on school grounds. A weapon can still be brought into the school and a student can still be harmed with a pocket knife or small handgun, since they are two weapons that can be easily hidden inside an empty binder. However, because a binder is a school regulated classroom item, it seems completely innocent; so how truly safe are these students?
“The thought of a student being able to sneak in a knife between a book terrifies me. The thought alone should not exist, yet it is a thought that must be constantly running through their minds,” sophomore Emma Garcia said.
Students also lose self-expression because they can no longer show their style and individualism when choosing the book bag they use for school. For example, a student who likes sports might find themselves using a Speedo bag; these bags are big and comfortable while being fully equipped to hold all of the student’s materials. Other students prefer more colorful bags to express their style, but these clear bags now take away from that small form of self-expression. Students are already told how to dress, and the fact that their bags are now being regulated is a bit outrageous. They are forced to wear certain colors, jackets that follow the school policies and shoes that are acceptable in the eyes of the administration. Some of these garments can be uncomfortable, yet students have to deal with them or they risk detention, referrals or suspensions. So, it becomes understandable when a student, who is forced to follow these strict guidelines, compares their school to a prison. However, the only way for them to express their discomfort is to protest the bags, which is exactly what they have been doing.
It is needless to say that students will not sit idly by as their rights are being violated. However, will lawmakers truly make a change that pleases everyone? This is highly improbable, but it will not stop these students from mocking the new policy and cracking a joke or two as they come to realize, this is their new life.