Granger High School bans backpacks

Purses, other bags banned on campus, too, in response to school threats around the region

— Granger High School students are being told to leave backpacks, bags and purses at home when they head to school.

The School District announced Monday, March 5, that recent school threats prompted the decision to ban bags capable of carrying a concealed weapon.

“Granger High School will no longer allow students to bring backpacks, purses, or other school bags that can be used to conceal weapons, drugs or alcohol,” a written statement posted to the district’s Facebook page said Monday. “We understand that this is an inconvenience and will take some reorganization and planning for families, but our main concern is that school is a safe place for learning.”

Granger School District officials did not return calls seeking comment on the new policy and whether it could be implemented on other campuses.

Neither the neighboring districts in Sunnyside or Zillah – both have had students recently suspended and arrested for making school threats – is considering such a move, yet.

“At this time, the Sunnyside School District is not considering a ban on backpacks,” Sunnyside School District spokeswoman Jessica Morgan said Tuesday.

 Zillah Superintendent Doug Burge said the district doesn’t have that “on our radar at this point.”

Burges said the decision to ban backpacks, purses and other bags would likely have to made on a school-by-school basis in every district.

That’s because of building layout, locker space, class schedules and more, he said.

They probably have good reason,” Burge said. “We haven’t identified it as a point of concern.”

According to Burge, some security issues will be addressed in the upcoming modernization approved by voters.

For example, locker space is likely going to be shaved, as fewer students are using them, he said.

“We just want to have a safe environment for our kids,” he said.

Burge didn’t rule the backpack and purse ban out entirely, though, noting the district will be prepared to look at the idea should the need arise.

In Granger, the backpack and purse prohibition means students won’t need to carry much with them from home.

“The only school supplies students are required to bring are their 3-ring binders with notebook paper and writing supplies,” the district post said.

For physical education and athletics programs, students will be allowed to bring “transparent grocery bags, laundry mesh bags or other similar transparent items” on campus.

And if students continue to bring backpacks, purses and non-transparent bags?

“Students who continue to bring backpacks will have a letter sent home and disciplinary measures will be enforced starting Monday, March 12,” officials said.

The change in the backpack policy comes with a change in unlocking of the high school each morning.

“High school doors will remain locked until our staff arrives at 7:30 a.m.,” the district posting said. “Teachers and coaches who have early morning practices will advise students on meet times and procedures for entering the building.”


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