Nine schools handing out clear backpacks to prevent weapons in the classroom

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County Schools is trying something new this year: giving kids at nine elementary schools clear backpacks to carry at school. Officials say it's for safety reasons to help spot weapons.

But families in the Mid-South say they wish they knew about this before they did their back-to-school shopping.

Brittany Phillips' 9-year-old little brother goes to Florida-Kansas Elementary School. One of the many that will be handing out clear backpacks.

"That's crazy! We just bought backpacks," she said.

Her little brother picked out a $30 camo-print backpack, but it doesn't look like he'll get to use it.

Phillips said, "I can understand middle and high school, but elementary school kids that have to wear clear backpacks for weapons?"

School board members told WREG the bags are being paid for through a grant, and they're giving them to kids who feed into the problematic middle and high schools where they often see weapons.

Phillips thinks this is a little much for her 9-year-old brother.

"He usually comes home and tells me how his day went so that has never been brought up to me at all," she said.

Her brother told us he feels safe at school.

"At my school over there kids aren't bringing weapons. They are bringing toys," he said.

As for the camo bag, Phillips says she's not returning it just yet. She's not sure how long these clear bags will last.

"They could've told us way before then I don't understand why they chosen to do it now," she said.

WREG has learned the principals will send home notice of these bags to the families, but we don't know when that will happen.

The nine schools are:

AB Hill Elementary
Alcy Elementary
Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary
Egypt Elementary
Florida-Kansas Elementary
Hamilton Elementary
Knight Road Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Westside Elementary


  • 1midtownmike

    Mister, you were in some serious trouble if you were caught chewing gum or talking in class when I was a student in the Memphis City School system some 40 years ago.
    It’s really sad that the thug element in today’s society is “politically correct.”

    • Aubrey

      1midtown mike: Don’t be afraid to let your true Southern prejudices show. And You wonder why there is no progress. Look at the man/woman in the mirror. You have nothing positive to contribute. This is not 40 years ago. The question is, How can you help the kids and schools now?

      • YeahIwentthere

        I send my kids to private school, they are surrounded by like minded people and get a good education. None of this b.s. that is going on in public indoctrination schools. That is very positive…for MY kids!

      • 1midtownmike

        I’m for discipline and order in the classroom and that makes me predjudiced? Sorry Aubrey, but that attempt at a guilt trip doesn’t work. It’s old news……like 40 years ago.

      • John G

        Is this a “southern prejudice” or is this a matter of the parents not doing their job and teaching their kids the difference of right and wrong and do the parents know themselves

      • MissTee

        Yeah, By “like minded people”, you mean homogeny. It is not good for kids to only ever be around their “own kind”. I was extremely fortunate to have gone to the elementary school I went to because there were kids there from all over the world. I feel bad for kids who never meet anyone outside of their little bubble. It fosters prejudice and makes the real world a terrible shock.

  • ron

    You people need to look at why some kids feel they need to bring weapons to school. Its likely because they feel threatened by gangs or bullies. The simple fact that they MAY be carrying a weapon is a big deterrent to gangs and bullies.

  • Elwood Suggins

    If the DOJ changes the age of a juvenile to age 24 do you think they would qualify to stay in high school or will they still eligible for child support.

  • James B

    If you bought a backpack already just return it. Schools are no longer safe. If this plan doesn’t work then it can be changed later. Try it out. Or better yet tell your child that if they see others with guns and knives they need to tell the teacher. Teach your kids to snitch and crime goes down.

    • MissTee

      “schools are no longer safe”

      They never really were, and clear backpacks won’t make them so. Nowhere is actually “safe”, especially with everyone running around with guns. The backpacks aren’t the problem.

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