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Upstate district to require clear backpacks next school year

By AMANDA SHAW

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    LAURENS, South Carolina (WHNS) — To increase safety, Laurens School District 55 announced students will be required to carry clear backpacks starting in August.

The district said backpacks must be fully clear. Students are still allowed to carry non-transparent lunchboxes, pencil bags and purses, but the maximum size is 6 inches by 9 inches.

Mesh backpacks and colored transparent backpacks are not allowed. Clear backpacks can have colored straps.

Students participating in extracurricular activities can carry non-transparent bags to store items like band or athletic equipment, but they must be placed in lockers or designated areas when entering schools.

All backpacks at Laurens District 55 schools are subject to search.

Read more from the district about the new policy:

Laurens 55: Safety Made Clear

In an effort to improve the safety measures currently in place, Laurens County School District 55 will require all students to use clear backpacks starting with the 2022-2023 school year. Students participating in an extracurricular activity are permitted to carry non-transparent bags to store items pertaining to their particular activity (i.e. band, athletics, etc.). Upon entry into the school, all extracurricular activity bags must be stored in lockers or designated areas. All bags are subject to search. Additionally, the maximum size for non-transparent bags that students are permitted to carry during the school day, such as, lunch boxes, pencil bags, and purses, will be 6” x 9”.

Question: What are the size specifications for the clear backpack? Answer: There are no size specifications for the clear backpack; however, please consider the dimensions for the school issued devices. Chromebooks are 12” x 8” x 1” and laptops are 13” x 8.5” x 1”.

Question: Are transparent colored backpacks allowed? Answer: No. Colored transparent backpacks are not allowed. Only fully clear backpacks are allowed. Question: Can the backpack have colored straps? Answer: Yes. The backpack may have colored straps.

Question: Are mesh backpacks allowed? Answer: No. Mesh backpacks are not allowed. Students are permitted to only use clear backpacks.

Question: Can the backpack have mesh pockets? Answer: Yes. Mesh side pockets are allowed on the backpack.

Question: Are monograms and logos allowed on the front of the backpacks? Answer: Small monograms and logos are allowed, but are not to exceed 4 inches. Larger logos, monograms, or other visual design obstructions are not allowed.

Question: Can we design or decorate the backpack? Answer: No. Designs or decorations cannot hinder the ability to see inside the backpack.

Question: Will small athletic/spirit bags and instrument cases, which are not clear, be allowed on campus? Answer: Yes, these are permitted, but should be stored in the band room or locker room. Students participating in an extracurricular activity are permitted to carry non-transparent bags to store items pertaining to their particular activity (i.e., band, athletics, etc.). Upon entry into the school, all extracurricular activity bags must be stored in lockers or designated areas. All bags are subject to search.

Question: Are lunch boxes permitted? Answer: Yes. Non-transparent lunch boxes no larger than approximately 6” x 9” x 5” are permitted to be carried.

Question: Can multiple 6” x 9” bags be carried? Yes. Students must limit non-transparent 6” x 9” bags (lunch kits, purses, pouches) to two bags, regardless of whether they are carried inside or outside the backpack.

Question: Are clear totes and clear purses allowed? Yes. Clear totes, purses and bags are allowed.

Question: Is this an invasion of privacy? Answer: We understand the concern regarding the privacy of certain items contained within backpacks. Students will be permitted to carry such items in a small makeup pouch or purse within the backpack. Any non-transparent pouch, purse, or lunch kit should be no larger than approximately 6” x 9” x 5”.

Question: What about students that must carry medical items/equipment to school? Answer: An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection.

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