Backpack ban confusion riles parents

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesBut Wednesday, school officials sent home a new policy statement saying children who choose to carry backpacks will not be punished. The letter also stated that “incentives and rewards” will be provided to those who choose to use the binders instead. Some parents, however, did not get the word in time. “If it’s a back issue, all you’re doing is shuffling all the weight from the back to the front,” said Lisa Mata-Uribe, whose son Cameron is an eighth- grader at Edwards. “They must be nuts,” said parent Jose Cisneros, whose sixth-grader is exempt from the no-backpack rule either way because she is in special education classes. “Sometimes they come up with crazy ideas. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They got to have a backpack,” Cisneros said. • Photo Gallery: 9/06: No backpacks allowed WHITTIER – Angry parents at Katherine Edwards Middle School blasted a “no backpacks” policy as school began Wednesday – a rule school officials implemented over the summer, then rescinded without informing parents before the start of the new semester. Most students clutched large canvas binders, which school officials, in a flier sent to parents this summer, had recommended instead of backpacks. Annoyed and angry parents hovered nearby. The flier announced: “No backpacks allowed at Edwards next year.” Edwards officials said they wanted to ban backpacks for safety reasons and as a way to prevent back problems among students. They recommended the binders as a better way for students to stay organized. Principal Monica Sena called the backpack ban a pilot program. School officials had invited parents to discuss the new policy at a meeting Aug.29, but few parents attended, said Whittier City School District Superintendent Carmella Franco. “Because so few parents showed up with it being summer, we’d like to hold a meeting when more parents are able to attend,” Franco said. “We’ll watch and see how the students adapt to the binders to see if it’s a reasonable and workable change.” The letter sent home Wednesday listed four new meeting times to discuss the backpack issue. Although several parents interviewed at the start of school did not seem to think the idea is plausible, Sena disagreed. “Students don’t need to carry a lot of things around,” she said, adding that the school provides copies of textbooks for homework and classroom use. She said most students buy their lunch at school. But for those who don’t, carrying a lunch bag should suffice, Sena added. “With the gym clothes, we’re going to see how it goes,” she said, adding that children could easily fit their clothes into the binders. As for other necessities, such as feminine products and other personal items that students will need, Sena said those things could be stored in purses or pencil pouches. Students had mixed opinions about the situation. “We need to carry a lot of books, and we can’t put them in our backpacks,” complained seventh-grader Bianca Cruz. But sixth-grader Yulissa Chavez said she wouldn’t mind if backpacks were banned. “It feels better than a backpack, because your back doesn’t hurt,” she said. But Yulissa admitted she was not sure where she will put things like gym clothes and her lunch. Franco said those are some of the concerns officials need to examine further. “This was just too preliminary to say what’s going to happen,” said Franco. “There will be some students who will like the binder and will carry that, so we want to watch that and see how that works.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more