At Glenwood High School this school year, a new book bag policy is in place for students.
Students will not be allowed to carry book bags between classes as they have in previous years, but instead must keep them in their lockers throughout the school day.
Section 1.14 of the “High School Student Handbook” for the 2019/2020 school year outlines this for the community, stating, “Book bags, hand bags, drawstring bags and purses are to be left in the student’s hall locker during the school day. The discipline system will be systematic, the same as tardies: first, a one hour detention, then two-hour detention, and then in-house, if needed.”
The policy also states that “exceptions to this rule may be made for students who require special accommodations.”
GHS principal Doug Szcinski and Randy Allen, District Director of Safety and Security, stated that this policy wasn’t hastily put together and decided on, it had been a topic of discussion for several years at the high school.
“We’ve talked about it for quite some time, and it just kind of evolved up until the time that we decided to do something about it,” Allen stated. “We finally decided to move forward with it.”
“They have been discussing this since before I got here,” Szcinski stated. “It’s been in discussions and committees for at least two years. I’ve been here for a year now and it was brought to my attention a month after I started last year that they were looking into it.”
So what exactly does this policy mean for GHS students?
“As a student you can carry trappers as long as they don’t go beyond four inches wide, you can carry a pencil pouch and then your computer already has a handle on it,” Szcinski explained. “I know it’s uncomfortable. When 9/11 hit, nobody wanted to go through the TSA security checks at the airport, but now it’s second nature. I understand that this is going to be kind of a pain to start out with, but it will become second nature too. It keeps everybody safe and, ultimately, that is our goal.”
“I think that this is going to be successful, particularly since it’s already in effect at the middle school,” Allen added. “I think the students will adapt because they always do, and I just hope that we can do something that will make our school and the students in our school safer.”
On the topic of the five minute passing periods being enough time for students, Szcinski says he firmly believes that students will have enough time to travel to their locker and get to class on time.
“But,” he added “Is there going to be a case where a student has to take two classes worth of books to two hours and then go to their lockers? That could absolutely happen depending on where your locker and classes are. But we’re not talking about carrying five or six or seven books without going to your lockers.”
Allen added that he thinks the policy will do more than simply increase the safety at GHS.
“I think it’s important that we physically remove book bags from the areas where we have large congregations of individuals, as it can be cumbersome when there are so many of them,” he explained. “And in addition to that, I think it’s been proven by the Chiropractic Association that book bags are hard on young people’s spines, so those were other considerations that we had. And then of course, there are the safety concerns of what could be placed inside of the book bag and brought into the building.”
“You know, I wouldn’t wish my experience upon anybody, and so anything I can do to help keep our kids and staff safe, I am going to do,” Szcinski stated. “This past week there was another shooting - at a mall. We’re getting ready to open doors at high schools and elementary schools nationwide, and we’re not going to let it happen here.”