STOWE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – Students at Sto-Rox Junior / Senior High School returned to in-person learning with additional safety measures this week, including a backpack ban.
Students returned to class on Monday after school officials taught students remotely last week after a student was shot and killed in the community. An ad posted for parents said backpacks aren’t allowed, but laptops and small handbags are allowed.
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Some parents have expressed their frustrations.
“These are revised rules. They have already done it, but it is not feasible. It’s a bandage. The kids need their backpacks, ”said parent Connie Deem.
“They have school books to take away, notebooks, none of that. You just want these kids to take their laptops and that’s it and little purses and that’s very inconsiderate, ”said parent Kerya Fleming.
On November 8, Hasson Shackelford was shot dead a few yards from his home as he walked home from school. The junior Sto-Rox died in hospital. Allegheny County Police said Tuesday 15-year-old Tavarius Lee was charged with criminal homicide and possession of a firearm by a minor in connection with the shooting.
“It’s very sad. My daughter really knew him. He was a classmate of hers. She was just with him the same day, so it was very upsetting,” Fleming said.
The announcement from the high school’s deputy principals included the full list of security measures that have been put in place. They include: “Laptops and small purses will be allowed. Backpacks will not be allowed. No hat or hood will be allowed to be worn during the school day. Students will be required to remove all jackets and hoodies upon entering the building to be searched. Additional police forces will be present on the scene.
The Assistant Principals also wrote: “Please keep in mind that these measures are taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all students and staff and to create the best possible learning environment at Sto Rox Jr High School. / Sr. “
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Many parents think that there is something else that can be done for backpacks.
“It’s not fair.… Just go through the kid’s book bags like you normally would and do it and do your job,” Fleming said.
“There was a time when they instituted see-through backpacks and see-through bags, which obviously helps. No more bag searches, do what they can, ”Deem said.
Some parents are not against the satchel rule.
“In fact, I understand why this was put in place. When you live in a place with a high rate of violence, that is to be expected. I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen sooner, ”said Brandee Rabinek.
They all hope that the district and the community can move forward
“We have to come together, we have to find these solutions, we have to reach out to these kids, find what they can do after school to keep them out of trouble,” Deem said.
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KDKA has contacted the acting district superintendent for comment, but has not received a response. There will be a school council meeting on Thursday evening.