What’s in the Bag?


Every student knows the struggle; you’ve got two textbooks, five folders, three notebooks, a Chromebook, a water bottle, and any of the other various school supplies you might need throughout the day- and you’ve got to schlep them all around from class to class for seven hours. Keeping track of all the materials you need to make the most out of a school day can become a chore. Most people would, reasonably, come to the conclusion that this problem can be solved. It’s easy! Get yourself a bag or backpack, put all your stuff in there, and poof! Your stress-inducing mountain of supplies is automatically contained. There’s just one problem- here at Lakota West, your perfect solution is not allowed. 


With the current situation regarding school gun violence in America (a whole other issue to be discussed at a different time,) students not being allowed to carry backpacks with them throughout the day makes perfect sense. Assistant Principal Mr. James Stallings explained: “Backpacks aren’t allowed because of the landscape where school has gone as far as students bringing in weapons and other unapproved items.” Who knows what someone could be hiding? Rules preventing students from carrying backpacks with them throughout the day are in place to prevent someone from hiding a weapon that could be used to harm others.


However, female students have seemingly found a loophole to this rule by carrying their school supplies in large purses or tote bags. Senior Kelsey Hartnett says that her tote bag “makes carrying all [her] stuff to class much easier” and that it “helps [her] stay organized.” It would seem that these large purses and tote bags would pose the same safety threat to students that a backpack would, but somehow, under the eyes of the administration, they don’t. Mr. Stallings said that though it isn’t ideal, “[i]t’s one of those things where if you look at any rule, you can find a double standard within that rule.” The administration sees the situation as nothing to worry about because “normally females are the lesser aggressor” and this assumption allows them to slip through the rule.


Some male students have felt as though the enforcement of the backpack rule has not been carried out correctly. They feel that it is unfair that large purses can be used to carry school supplies while backpacks are still prohibited. According to Officer Newman, West’s SRO, the fact of the matter is that the administration has to “weigh the need vs the security risk” and their view is that “purses are a necessity while backpacks are an accessory.” So for anyone hoping that they would soon be toting their books and supplies in their backpack down the hallways to their classes- don’t get your hopes up.