CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — A school district in Flint, Michigan banned backpacks from their buildings recently, which has caused a new layer to form regarding school safety

Dr. Kyle Freeman, Superintendent of Schools at Washington Community High School, said that it will be considered when the school undergoes safety protocol meetings in the summer.

“We’ve had to check backpacks before, we’ve had to ask students not to bring them, so it just depends on what the temperature and climate are out there and what kind of issues we’re dealing with,” Freeman said.

School districts across the country are instituting measures such as requiring clear backpacks or banning them altogether like in Flint. Demario Boone, Director of School Safety for Peoria Public Schools, believes that focusing on the emotional aspect of youths will be more beneficial than taking away backpacks.

“I look at those measures as reactive, I think the question is not making sure we get rid of backpacks and inconvenience kids more, it’s making sure we have safety protocols in place, and make sure we do social and emotional learning, so we don’t have incidents where violent crime happens in buildings,” Boone said.

In addition, Dr. Freeman said that the mental health of students is paramount, especially over the last few years.

“The amount of anxiety that students face, depression, and it seems to have ramped up since COVID, so we try to stay really on top of talking with kids and make sure they’re talking with us,” Freeman said.