Stop Liberty Middle School’s String Bag Policies

Stop Liberty Middle School’s String Bag Policies

November 1, 2022
Petition to
Superintendent of Bethel School District Tom Siegel and 1 other
Signatures: 453Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by joxterr :)

Liberty Middle School has a policy where students are prohibited from carrying backpacks to their classes. They’re to be left in the lockers. Instead, we have to use drawstring bags to get to class, but there are no accommodations that give us time to go to our lockers without being late to class.

The main reason for this is that the school is overcapacity and there is no room in the halls, but there’s no regulations regarding the actual size of the bag. The only rule is that they need to be a tote bag or drawstring bag. This means that if a student really wanted, they could bring an extremely large drawstring bag without penalty. To test this, I brought a pull-string garbage bag instead of the usual cotton-based bag. It wasn’t penalized whatsoever, even though it was at least twice the size of a normal backpack. This completely undermines the primary objective of the policy. 

While the school aimed to optimize the halls and prevent blockages, it’s evident that the introduction of this policy had the complete opposite effect. Kids often have to stop in crowded corridors to get into their lockers, sometimes having to crouch on the ground to get into them. This means that kids are getting trampled, and in an attempt to use the lockers as they had been requested to, causing blockages. 

The fragile nature of drawstring bags mean that families are spending additional money to replace them. This is extremely frustrating because our school’s average income is low. Low enough that our lunches are all free. It’s completely inequitable for the less fortunate children at our school.

Additionally, the school is asking us to misuse the drawstrings, which is causing all of the damages to them. According to the official patent for drawstring bags, they were made to keep things like clothes and food from getting dirty or disorganized. It makes no sense to treat them like book bags when they were initially created for lightweight cargo, not textbooks.

Some may even go as far as to argue that it’s discriminatory towards students in Honors classes, who are expected to carry additional books with them to and from school. It could also be seen as discriminatory against students who have to walk home.

Another, now less commonly cited reason for this policy is safety. Teachers believe that having smaller bags might make it more difficult to smuggle in weapons, drugs, and other contraband. This doesn’t really add up; the smaller, more cramped bags might be even more dangerous since it makes them more difficult to search. A potential shooter could empty their bag to make more room for guns, and a drug dealer could do the same. If safety was really a concern, they would make the bags easier to search. 

The policies are asinine, and they need to be revised or removed completely. 

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Signatures: 453Next Goal: 500
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Decision Makers

  • Tom SiegelSuperintendent of Bethel School District
  • Seth HumphreyPrincipal of Liberty Middle School