Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Feb. 14, 2018, Heritage has made considerable attempts to increase our safety on campus, including the addition of two police officers. Another attempt to increase safety will be the requirement of clear backpacks starting next school year.
According to administration, there are multiple reasons as to why this rule will be implemented. For starters, it makes it easier to identify Heritage students (since they will be carrying a clear bag) apart from outsiders that could be potential threats. In addition, the clear backpacks can add a sense of security in that it is easier to identify the contents of the backpacks when the bag itself is transparent, making it harder to hide an automatic rifle.
“Dr. Laurie has been working with security experts and [the clear backpacks are] a simple step that can’t cause harm and can only help” said principal Mrs. Elise Blum.
For athletes or students carrying instruments, check stations will be located at various spots on campus to check the contents of the bags and then provide storage where students may pick them up later in the day. Students going on field trips will also have to bring their luggage to a check station to have their items checked and stored until their time of departure.
Students who carry a lunch box will not have to find a clear one, but Mrs. Blum recommends purchasing a clear tote bag (one can be purchased here) to carry extra items that may be needed in addition to a lunch box (such as extra supplies for a club bake sale, event, project, etc.).
Mrs. Blum said, “Be in compliance at the beginning of the school year, we don’t want to waste anyone’s time by pulling people out of class if they don’t have a clear backpack. Work with us to make sure we stay safe.” Other safety features are in the works such as potentially bringing more dogs on campus that can smell guns.
“We want to make this the safest campus,” Mrs. Blum said, which is why this policy will be enforced.