Absence of backpacks bothers students

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During class change the junior high hallway is full of students and is very difficult to walk through. The students are not allowed to carry backpacks during the school day. Caroline Huber (8) said, “A few of my classes that are so far apart from each other that I have to run to get to my locker, get my stuff, and then sprint to my class. By: Breydon Doubet

For many years junior high students have not been able to carry backpacks in the hallways, but many have complained about this and others are curious as to why this rule was exactly enforced.

Junior high math teacher, John Loomis, was here when the rule was first enforced and remembers some of the debates that occurred.

“I remember the discussions, they were heated to say the least. A lot of the people that really pushed to get the junior high students to not be able to carry backpacks are no longer here,” Loomis said.

According to Loomis the largest factor in deciding was the health of the students. Many of the students are smaller in size and carrying heavy backpacks would not be good for their health.

“One of the big deciding factors was the health of the students, because so many students were carrying backpacks that literally weighed a third of their weight,” Loomis said.

Although this was one reason for enforcement, there were others. Junior high principal, Dave Timpone, did not work at the school when the rule was first enforced, but he understands why it was.

“The main reason was that there just isn’t room. The junior high hallway, I’m told, is the most narrow hallway in this place, and it has the most people in it at class change. I’m out there a lot during class changes and you can barely get from point A to point B without backpacks on. I can’t imagine what that would be like with backpacks,” Timpone said.

Loomis and his coworkers were very shocked but also appreciated the extra room in the hallways.

“In the end, we were surprised at literally how much extra space we had in the junior high hall and everyone was suddenly half as thick,” Loomis said.

Students are not entirely supportive of the rule because it limits their convenience throughout the day. Caroline Huber (8) dislikes it because she has to return to her locker several times during the day.

“If I had my backpack, at lunch I would go switch out my afternoon books and it would be great. I would never have to go back and forth and run through the [packed hallways],” Huber said.

Lauryn Rhoads (8) fully understands why the rule is in place but she would still appreciate the extra convenience.

“I think it’s a lot more convenient if we would just have our backpacks with us the whole time. I understand that we’re not allowed to keep our backpacks [in the hallways], but I think it would be nice to have our backpacks under our desk. Because if we forgot something from our locker, we would probably have it in our backpack, and it would make things a lot easier,” Rhoads said.

While the students do not care for the rule, because it makes their days more difficult, they can see why it exists.

“I sometimes trip over other people in the hallway if they’re a little bit smaller than me and I understand that the backpacks could be a problem,” Rhoads said.

Loomis does believe that students could learn how to handle backpacks if the administration changed the rule.

“I think if we had backpacks everyday the students would learn how to position them intelligently,” Loomis said.

Overall, the rule is in place to make the junior high hallway safer and put less stress on the students’ backs. The students do not like the rule, but Loomis said, “They complain about it, but after a while they do get over it.”

 

By Breydon Doubet

doubet.breydon@oakwoodschools.org

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