Global warming. The meaning of life — big questions and big problems — the world is full of them.
Not so big, but one that endures for students, faculty and staff at Bloomington High School South is the one about backpacks. South doesn’t allow students to carry them in the halls.
Instead, they must leave them in their lockers during the school day, while at North, students can take them everywhere but into the lunchroom.
South’s rule has been in place for some time, but has only been rigorously enforced since the 2006-07 school year.
South Assistant Principal Jay True said there are two main reasons for the ban at South. One is to protect teachers from tripping over student bags in classroom aisles, where they often resided during class time before the ban. In fact, he said, a German teacher pacing between the desks injured herself after falling over a student’s backpack.
South teacher Dan Combs also has had safety issues with backpacks. Combs, known to South students as the “Hallway Cop,” said there’s just not enough room in the halls for such massive objects. “I got whacked one too many times with backpacks in the hallway and had to get elbow surgery,” he said.
He and former South teacher Andrew Schrader, now at New Tech High School, appealed to South’s administration to enforce the no-backpack policy three years ago.
The other reason for upped enforcement also deals with school safety, True said — this one a concern that backpacks could conceal weapons. South Principal Mark Fletcher said the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado prompted a national examination of such matters. “Not to establish that rule at the time would have been neglectful in looking out for the safety of our kids,” Fletcher said, but added that the school hasn’t had problems with students and weapons.
Not everyone, including some teachers, agrees with the backpack ban at South. “I think students should have the right to carry a backpack, yes,” social studies...