Next year’s backpack policy impacts school environment


Jessica Lieberman

Sophomore Emma Tisch demonstrates how she will carry her books and keep her backpack in her locker next year.

Mayfield High School administration will implement a new policy for the 2023-2024 school year that will prohibit students from carrying backpacks throughout the school.

According to Dan Sapanaro, the Assistant Principal of Student Affairs, the use of backpacks will not be permitted. He said, “I think we’re going to allow the ladies (and potentially males), to use a small purse. Outside of that, no backpacks will be allowed.”

Sapanaro’s main reason for eliminating the use of backpacks is to help with current student issues. He said, “For us, with increased vaping and a desire to increase school security, not having students carry [their] backpacks all the time will help with that.”

Sapanaro views backpacks in classrooms as a safety hazard because teachers and students trip over them. He said, “We ask teachers to circulate the room and see that kids are working, and [for] some classrooms that have rows [of desks], teachers aren’t able to circulate down the rows because there is so much stuff in the way.”

To create this policy, the administrators collaborated and discussed potential ideas with one another. Sapanaro said, “We have administrative meetings, and ultimately it was decided that it was a safer route for school security to not allow backpacks.”

Michael Hughes, an AP History teacher, believes there will be greater mobility within the classroom if students do not carry all of their materials in their backpacks. He said, “From a student perspective, you think you need to carry eight periods’ worth of stuff with you, [but by doing that] you create a lot more weight. With more frequent visits to your locker every couple of hours, you’d be able to cut down on the number of pounds of books that you’d be carrying at any given time. ”

As a result of this new policy, junior class president Christine Rocco predicts that a majority of students will face challenges, such as being late to class. She said, “People are going to be walking in late. What happens during the passing minutes when I need to stop at my locker and go to the bathroom? How am I going to do both: I can’t.”

Sapanaro understands that students will be upset when the new policy is enforced. He said, “People are going to say that five minutes isn’t enough time. If you think it through, [students should] get what they need for a few periods based on classroom locations, and [they] make it work.”

Hughes anticipates that the policy will reduce the frequency of prohibited items being brought into classrooms by students. He said, “Trying to minimize the number of things students are bringing into the classroom that aren’t transparent [is important].”

Since students won’t carry every item with them, Rocco is worried about not having immediate access to all of her materials. She said, “If I forget my homework, what teacher is going to let me go to my locker to get it? They’re not going to let you out of class, especially because [the periods] are only 50 minutes.”

Rocco is concerned that her locker and other students’ lockers will be messy and unorganized. She said, “I like carrying my backpack around, and it has everything I need. I don’t have folders right now, so all of my papers are in my backpack and are categorized and sectioned off by notebooks.”

The main reason to enact this policy is for the safety and security of the school, according to Sapanaro. He said, “Safety and security — that’s the most important part.”

This policy of not being allowed to carry backpacks in school will officially begin on Aug. 25, 2023.