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December 10, 2018

A Student’s Perspective on the New ‘No Backpack’ Policy


What is the beginning of the school year without a new change for students to complain about? Last year, students complained about homeroom every Monday and flexiSched. This year brought around many fun changes! Of the changes, a policy banning backpacks during the day is perhaps one of the most drastic. As a student, I must admit my life at Pella High has been negatively impacted by this decision.

I have watched a student rush down the halls with her arms full of her personal items. It looked as if she was going to drop her notebooks, folders, textbooks, laptop, binder, pencil pouch, water bottle, and calculator. As it was a passing period in the middle of the day, this student would have been in trouble if she used a bag bigger than a standard textbook to help carry her items. Believe me, this was not an isolated incident. Once winter comes, the amount of items students will be carrying will only increase, as students will also be carrying sweatshirts or coats.

Proponents of the no backpack policy often talk of clutter in the classroom and in the halls. However, does the inconvenience of watching your step in the classroom truly outweigh the inconvenience students now have of trying to rush from their class to their locker to their next class? Personally, I have never found the clutter of backpacks to be a serious problem in the classroom in my three years of highschool. As for the hallways, I feel as though backpacks created no more clutter than arms full of loose school supplies do now. Personally, I am scared I will drop all of my papers and notebooks when walking from class to class, which would create even more chaos in the halls.

Not only are loose notebooks and folders clutter, they can also be tiresome for students to carry from class to class. A backpack’s purpose is to distribute weight more evenly across the body, so students do not have to worry about fatigued arm muscles or shoulders. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, backpacks are supported by the back and core muscles which are the strongest in the body. Therefore, the argument that removing backpacks is beneficial to student’s health is not entirely true, as the weight is simply being shifted to students arms.

There is also an argument that backpacks could be used to hold guns and illegal substances. However, students who wish to bring items such as drugs or weapons into the school are going to do so with or without backpacks. Loose clothing or parked cars are also prime locations for illegal items. Is the next step to ban loose clothing and cars? Students who obey the rules at Pella High should not be punished for the actions of a few.

As they have with past changes, I am sure students will adapt and overcome this new obstacle. I understand that not being able to carry a backpack around is not the end of the world. However, as with all inconveniences, it is only human to complain about them.  

About Allison Clark,

Allison is a senior at PHS. She is on her fourth year with the Pelladium and is a senior editor of the newspaper. After high school, Allison plans to go to the University of Iowa to study History. When she's not stressing over page designs, Allison can be found playing tennis, hanging out at Smokey Row, or driving around with friends.