A new school year has started, and in Rock Island students can forget bringing their backpacks and purses to class. The school implemented a new policy that allows students to bring backpacks and purses into the school, but they must be kept in the students locker for the duration of the school day.

I chuckled when I saw this policy. 30 years ago my grade school implemented a similar policy for junior high students who switched classrooms throughout the day. The idea was larger book bags clogged the aisle which could be a problem if there was a fire or other emergency that required a quick evacuation.

My grade school's solution was to mandate that every junior high student purchase a blue rubber tote bag with cloth handles that looked like it was made for a first grader. A bunch of thirteen year old kids carrying these bags around looked ridiculous. And it was. My Mom confirmed it when she came up with a colorful inappropriate name to describe it.

That was junior high. In high school, at least during my time, the more times you could swing by your locker to drop and pick books up the better. The cool kids did their best to avoid carrying a book bag at all costs. Although, depending where your locker was, and where your classes were ... sometimes that could be impossible.

Rock Island High School says they implemented the policy because backpacks and purses take up a lot of space in the classrooms. The school also had some concerns about kids carrying illegal or inappropriate items into class. I wonder if Rock Island High's students feel as silly carrying around a pencil case as I did carrying around that blue rubber bag.


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