Dallas arms students with backpacks


Joanna Mikolajczak

North Lake Campus Early College High School students walk to class sporting their new mandated clear backpacks.

As of July 18, the Dallas Independent School District requires that their students from 6 through 12 grades have a transparent mesh backpack when attending a Dallas ISD school. This includes the students on the North Lake campus Early College High School and Dual Credit Students.

This decision was made after a Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers. “Our decision stems from safety recommendations made by the district’s Safety Task Force and Internal Task Force as well as feedback from students, parents, and the community,” according to a tweet released by Dallas ISD.

By being able to easily see the items in the backpacks as students enter the school, campus personnel will be able to ensure that prohibited items are not included among the students’ belongings. Clear or mesh backpacks will also speed up students entering the school at the beginning of the day because opening and inspecting every backpack may not be necessary.

Clear or mesh backpacks for high school students can be about 13 inches wide by 17.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches deep and have a zippered outer pocket.

Students will be able to carry in their backpack a non-clear pouch no larger than 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches to hold personal items, such as cellphones, money, and hygiene products. Other bags will no longer be allowed.

“At the end of the day if it doesn’t make us feel safer, what’s the point? It’s just a distraction,” said A 17-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas, Robert Bonczek, shared his views about the clear backpacks with VICE News. “Students feel that the increase in security measures constantly makes them feel nervous and like prisoners, which tends to take away from their education.”

However, Maxie Johnson, Dallas ISD Trustee said, “We need to advocate for safety. Backpacks are a start, it’s not the answer, but it’s a start for safety.”

There are rules when it comes to the backpacks, the plastic must be completely transparent and should have no color.

The district has purchased a clear backpack for each student in middle and high school. The clear backpacks provided by the district were distributed by the schools before the start of the new school year.

“I will do whatever I can for any parent in my district to make sure their kid has a backpack,” Johnson said.

Dallas College North Lake Campus has become the home of Early College High School Students and Dual Credit Students. A program that provides students support and curriculum that will help them achieve their high school diploma and up to 60 semester credit hours toward associate or baccalaureate degree.

We reached out to the NLECHS principal Sam Eppter for comments but did not respond.