Some schools don't allows students to carry backpacks to school for fear they might use them to conceal weapons, explosives, drugs or alcohol. Others argue that backpacks pose a space issue in hallways and classrooms because they take up too much room. Many school districts can't afford to install metal detectors and don't have the labor force to perform daily backpack checks. Nonetheless, a large majority of students need backpacks for legitimate reasons and pose no danger to teachers or their classmates. Backpacks provide a healthy way for students to transport items to and from school or class.
Convenient Tote Bags
Textbooks, notebooks, three-ring binders, school supplies and reference materials are heavy and bulky. Students who take their books and academic materials home on a regular basis need a practical way to tote their belongings, and backpacks are a durable and reliable solution. During cold weather, students also need a way to transport coats, boots, hats and gloves. Some might also need to store and transport lunch or snack items. Most backpacks have zippered compartments that make it easy to carry small items such as pencils, pens, jump drives, loose change, cosmetics and calculators. A solution is to require students to carry mesh backpacks or backpacks with clear or translucent coverings. Some students may feel that clear backpacks violate their privacy.
Uniforms, Props and Supplies
Students who are involved in extracurricular activities often stay after school for meetings, sports games, academic competitions, sports practices, mock trials, band events, drama, visual arts competitions, fine arts productions or social events. They don't always have time to go home and change before scheduled activities begin, and they need a way to transport uniforms, props and equipment to school. Backpacks are a viable option for carrying such items and pose no greater risk than duffel bags or hard-sided suitcases.
Some students need to carry a backpack to class during school hours. Many junior high and senior high schools are large and spread out, so students don't always have time to return to their lockers before each class. For example, a student might need to carry multiple textbooks, a stack of notebooks and a bundle of art supplies to several classes before returning to her locker. Some students might not be strong enough to carry that much weight, or perhaps they risk tripping and falling when they have too much to carry in their arms. Backpacks allow students to carry items on their backs, making it easier to see in front of them to navigate crowded hallways and stairwells.
Backpacks are a healthier option than shoulder bags or messenger bags for carrying heavy books and supplies, according to TeensHealth. A backpack distributes weight more evenly across a student's body so he doesn't have to worry about fatigued arm muscles or shoulder strain. Back and core muscles are the strongest in the body, so they help support the weight of a backpack, reports the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. A student can adjust his backpack straps to ensure the bulk of the weight stays close to his back and the bag only hangs a few inches below his waist. Most backpacks have padded shoulder straps that keep the straps from digging into a student's shoulders. However, not carrying a backpack according to the manufacturer's instructions can lead to muscle strain and poor posture. A student should always carry his backpack with one strap on each shoulder -- not with one strap alone or with both straps over one shoulder.
- KOB-TV Eyewitness 4 in New Mexico: Belen Parents Upset Over 'No Backpacks' Policy
- American Library Association: Math and Reading Help: Why Are Some Schools Banning Backpacks
- TeensHealth: Backpack Basics
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Bad Backs and Backpacks
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Backpack Safety
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