Backpacks banned for a second time


Last year, students did not have lockers and instead carried backpacks with them from class to class. This year, McQuaid Jesuit has once again returned to normal with students keeping their books and backpack in their lockers and carrying their books on their own.  But why?

Is it possible ever to return to students having backpacks with them in class? Is it only the students who want the backpacks to return, or the teachers as well?

Some teachers like students having backpacks because they have all of their items with them. Having all of their school supplies in backpacks instead of in lockers helps prevent students from being late to class while grabbing things from their locker, ensuring they have all of the supplies needed for class. 

With the once again rising COVID-19 cases and the new Omicron variant, the students getting quarantined is once again a risk. If students are required to quarantine, they will have all the school supplies they need to be able to get classwork done.

Allowing students to have backpacks would also help mitigate the effect of Omicron on McQuaid, as it did last year, and doing it in advance instead of as a reaction to a future epidemic would help to keep McQuaid running smoothly.

One serious issue with backpacks is the security risk they pose. Teachers and administration have expressed concern, especially in the modern climate, about the risk of students being able to smuggle items of concern into class more easily if they had backpacks. “It does help kids be better prepared but safety concerns outweigh it,” said Theology teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Pietropaoli about the possible risk of backpack use.

Many years ago, students were allowed to carry their backpacks with them to class, but due to a security issue where it was believed a student had a weapon, backpacks were restricted to students’ lockers.

However, other teachers believe that the safety risk is significantly outweighed by the benefits they provide to streamlining education.

“For me there wasn’t that big of a security risk increase than you would have if you had lockers,” English teacher Mr. Patrick DePippo said.  He feels it would be just as easy for a student to smuggle an item in and keep it in his locker or suitcoat than it would for him to keep it in his backpack.

Backpacks may indeed pose a risk; however, many believe that the benefits would outweigh the security concerns. “It might be beneficial to revisit the topic again,” said Mr. DePippo. 

With the rise of Omicron, will McQuaid make a return to allowing backpacks to be carried to classes, or will they remain a thing of the past?