East St. Louis requires transparent backpacks for middle and high school students

EAST STREET. LOUIS (KMOV) — The East St. Louis School District has announced that middle and high school students must use transparent backpacks for the upcoming school year.

Backpacks are required at Lincoln Middle, Mason/Clark Middle, Bush Alternative Center and East St. Louis Senior High School.

In a press release, the district said the backpack’s plastic must be completely transparent, but the straps to carry them don’t have to meet that requirement. Secondary students are permitted to carry a non-transparent pouch or purse no larger than 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches to hold personal items, such as hygiene products or cell phones.

“If it becomes a hardship for the family, it is not mandatory to bring a backpack,” district spokeswoman Sydney Stigge-Kaufman said. “We know that student backpacks are just one of the steps we take to help keep the school safe.”

The district said it will still conduct bag searches and ask students to pass through metal detectors.

The district added that transparent backpacks are available for purchase at a number of retailers, including Personal Touch Boutique in East St. Louis, Walmart, Target, Amazon and others.

News 4 went to Walmart in Cahokia Heights, the closest big box store to the school district. The store had a rack with transparent backpacks. The majority were non-transparent backpacks.

“I don’t meet them at all,” said Cassandra Logan, owner of Logan’s Kids Resale in Dutchtown. “Book bags. That’s the number one thing.

Logan told News 4 that she never gets clear binders because her customers don’t show much interest.

“I’m not even going to pick it up myself. So the stores are therefore only running on demand,” Logan added. “I know they’re trying to do this to discourage guns. Clear – you can see everything in it. There is no privacy.

The Ferguson-Florissant school district is another metro district that requires clear backpacks. Other districts like St. Louis Public Schools require clear bags at sporting events.

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