Catholic schools in Durham have banned backpacks. The reason? Backpacks clutter classrooms and are a tripping hazard.
In October, students at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Whitby protested the ban.
Schools should provide storage for backpacks. The weight shouldn’t be carried by students.
Backpacks help students carry textbooks, binders, laptops and pencil cases. This leaves students’ hands free.
A ban on backpacks is irresponsible. Injury may result from banning backpacks because students carrying a multitude of books have their arms full and are unable to hold hand rails while going down stairs.
In Dufferin-Peel Region, where there is also a ban, a Grade 10 student at Cardinal Leger complained about having small cuts on her arms from carrying multiple books from classroom to classroom.
From the teacher’s perspective, there are complaints of tardiness. Students are spending too much time going to their lockers to get supplies, ultimately resulting in less time spent in classrooms.
Students need backpacks in classrooms and throughout the school. Backpacks allow students to carry any item they may need while keeping their arms free in case of a slip or fall. Backpacks are beneficial because they distribute weight and hold essential items without strain.
Backpacks would not be a tripping hazard if schools accommodated them.
During cold weather, backpacks are essential for carrying what a student may need to stay warm. Backpacks promote organization and neatness while allowing for easy and convenient storage.
The feelings of students at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School are justified. They have the right to protest and deserve to have backpacks in classrooms.
Instead of banning something necessary to students, the school board should make space for backpacks in classrooms.
A simple solution would be chairs that accommodate backpacks. Another cheaper and easy suggestion is to line backpacks along one wall of a classroom.