Long Island school requires students use clear backpacks

EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. — A school on Long Island is requiring middle and high school students to use clear backpacks as part of new safety measures in the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.

The East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School distributed the clear backpacks to 550 students on Monday and Tuesday, Newsday reports.

The school district spent about $3,600 on the bags. Strong opinions about whether that money was well spent have been formed, with many students simply refusing to wear them.

One student called it an "invasion of privacy."

"What if I have a medication to take and I don't everybody to see my stuff?" they said, likening the new requirement to "putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone."

Interim principal Neil Lederer said students must use the clear backpacks or no backpacks while on school grounds during academic hours. The directive does not affect sports bags, but Lederer said officials were evaluating how they'll handle large events like plays and concerts.

The Parkland, Fla., massacre in February was carried out by a a former student who brought an assault weapon in a large bag to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

PIX11 News reached out to school leadership about the new policy and was referred to a public relations firms and given a letter sent home to parents more than a week ago.

"I realize some of these adjustments may cause some inconvenience and I thank you in advance for your understanding," the letter read in part.

It went on to explain that the backpacks are part of new security measures, which include tougher restrictions for anyone entering or leaving the school building.

When school let out on Thursday, it was clear that many students were still allowed to have their normal backpacks.