Keep Bookbags in McDowell
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Last Spring, the Millcreek Township School District announced that they would prohibit McDowell students from carrying book bags from class to class in an effort to prevent gun violence in our school. While students appreciate the effort and intent behind the motion, they do not believe this policy would be effective, and perhaps even counterintuitive.
Not allowing students to use their backpacks in middle and elementary school works because the schools are smaller, whereas McDowell is two entire separate buildings, and students are traveling between the two constantly. It would be incredibly inconvenient to have to travel to a locker and not being able to carry a bookbag. Even more than being inconvenience, having everyone use their lockers at the same time would be a perfect time for a shooter. It would provide a shooter with a concentrated amount of people with nowhere to run. Some lockers are not close enough to a classroom for safety, and even if they are there's no guarantee that the door locks or it hasn't already been closed. Therefore, not having bookbags could potentially increase McDowell's likelihood of a shooter and gives them an opportunity to do severe damage.
Next, in the case of an active shooter situation our bookbags truly are the best defense in an open area. If bookbags have textbooks in them, they can be used to protect vital organs from a bullet. If a student has perfume or cologne, it could possibly be used to spray in the shooter's eyes. Some active shooter protocols specifically mention throwing objects at the aggressor as an attempt to knock them out or at least slow them down. The 20 pound bookbags students carry could be thrown at the shooter in a last resort. In an active situation, many more uses would emerge. By taking away students’ bookbags, the administration is taking away any chance we might have at survival.
The scary truth is that there is no way to stop an active shooter, and even if they came in with a gun in a bag there would be no way to stop them. But, to prevent this from happening while still allowing students protection in their bags, we would accept the school district mandating mesh or clear backpacks or doing a bag check of students with a registered weapon in their household. Overall, keeping bookbags makes our school a safer place.
If you agree with allowing book bags in McDowell, please sign, and remember every signature counts. It could be the difference between life and death if the worst happens. Student representatives will attend either the August or September school board meeting to discuss this further in person.
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