More schools develop clear backpack policies to combat school shootings. Do they work?

School Security Michigan
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jul 25, 2022

Clear backpacks will be required at more schools this fall as the Dallas Independent School District became the latest to make the change.

Other school districts in Texas have also announced similar policies since the school shooting in Uvalde.

The idea is that people can see a weapon in a backpack. Officials said it is something Parkland also tried after the school shooting in 2018 and after the Oxford school shooting last year.

“School districts are facing a lot of pressure right now from parents, and the public about doing something and these clear backpacks are something that is tangible that people can see,” said Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor of criminal justice at SUNY Oswego. “And so it's giving the impression that something is being done.”

Schildkraut said that these backpacks are not a good investment because very few shooters bring their firearms to school in a backpack, and you can still get guns into a school.

She said the top reason a school shooting is prevented is because someone with information comes forward.

“The most important thing that schools can be doing is educating students about what leakage looks like, helping to break down the bystander effect or the belief that, you know, telling somebody what you know is snitching rather than helping,” she said.

She said the top life-saving device for school shootings is a door lock.

Dallas school leaders acknowledge that clear backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns.

Students will be allowed to have a small, nontransparent pouch for personal items.