MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As school safety continues to be a major concern, a Mid-South school district has voted in a new policy some feel might protect students.
On Thursday, the West Memphis School District announced all K-12 students will be required to wear clear backpacks.
In light of the recent school shooting in Texas, some community members like Andrea Johnson feel that the new policy approved by the school board is a safety measure for all.
“You see all the shooting going on.. you never know what they carrying in their backpacks it needs to be clear,” Johnson said.
However, some people in the community don’t believe the new policy will be effective.
“They did that several years ago and it’s just not going to work. It’s a waste of time,” said Lee Watkins. “Kids are slick. They are smart. They are devious. They’ll find other ways others to get guns in.”
Mayor Marco McClendon, who is also a parent of a second grader in the district, said with recent shootings in the city, this new policy cuts down on the threat against students.
“Sometimes things happen in schools, fights and different things and we just want to make sure everyone is protected and aren’t bringing in anything that can’t be identified by the eyes as soon as possible,” he said.
McClendon said the policy works well with other safety measures already in place.
“We have sky cops as well as we have a police officer in every school,” he said.
The district said there are a few exceptions with students being able to bring band and athletic bags, purses, and lunch bags. However, the district said they are subject to search and wanting.
Now, this new policy will go into effect this upcoming school year.
The city said it is now providing over 300 clear backpacks with community partners.
“We saw how some of the parents were a little upset with the change in the policy. Of course, clear backpacks are a little bit more expensive than your regular backpack,” said Tawana Bailey, Director of Community Outreach.
Back to School Community Resource Fair
West Memphis Community Outreach will host a Back to School Community Resource Fair on August 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event will be held in the Old Courthouse parking lot located at 100 Court Street, West Memphis, AR.
Children must be present to receive supplies.
For more information about the event, call (870)-732-7534