Commentary

Clear backpacks or Assanine School Policies Volume 1,234

This should be out of an Onion story. But alas, it is another chapter in the ongoing saga of sudents and parents versus dumb school board policies. Via the Dallas News At least the school board for Dallas Unified came to their senses and rescinded the policy. But as reported below, there are school districts in America that require students to use clear or mesh backpacks to fight violence and crime in their schools. Oye. My kids started school on Monday and I did not notice a selection of clear packbacks at Target and Staples. Clear-backpack policy rescinded by DISD 05:39 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 By KENT FISCHER / The Dallas Morning News kfischer@dallasnews.com Dallas public school students will not have to tote their books in clear backpacks after all this coming school year. Dallas ISD board members have decided to rescind the policy, which they had only recently put into place. The change means that kids can go back to using their old backpacks. The board changed its mind because two board members were absent from the May meeting when the 4-3 vote was taken. Those two board members said they would have voted against clear backpacks, defeating the policy. Administrators had favored the clear backpacks, saying they would help make campuses safer and student security checks faster. Campuses around the country, including some in Royse City and Garland, have outlawed backpacks that are not mesh or clear. The scariest thing is that four school board members voted for the policy, meaning they really believe that clear backpacks will have a substantial effect on school safety.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.