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Michigan elementary faculty bans backpacks after scholar brings gun

DETROIT, Mich. — Two Michigan faculty districts have banned college students from bringing backpacks to varsities in lower than a month after a number of weapon issues and incidents.

Grand Rapids Public Faculties is the second Michigan district to ban backpacks from faculties after district directors found a loaded gun in a third-grader’s backpack. The district joins Flint Group Faculties, which drew national headlines in late April when the district announced a backpack ban that began on Might 1.

Weapons have been confiscated from college students 4 occasions this faculty 12 months in Grand Rapids, according to a news release from the district. In three out of 4 occasions, the weapon was present in a backpack.

“I’m greater than annoyed {that a} resolution like that is vital, however we should put security first and that’s what this resolution is about,” mentioned Grand Rapids Superintendent Leadriane Roby. “This is only one step in an ongoing dialog about how we are able to greatest defend our kids in our quickly altering world.”

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Gun confiscated from third-grader

Faculty employees confiscated the gun from a Stocking Elementary Faculty third-grader on Wednesday after one other scholar alerted employees that their schoolmate may need a gun.

Grand Rapids Police took possession of the weapon. Weapons had been additionally confiscated from college students this 12 months twice at Burton Center Faculty and as soon as at Cesar E. Chavez Elementary Faculty.

The varsity district mentioned the backpack ban will stay in impact till additional discover whereas the district works to reinforce safety protocol and modify guidelines.

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Threats made at one other faculty district

Flint Group Faculties’ backpack ban additionally got here out of a priority for weapons after a menace was made in opposition to a faculty on April 19, Superintendent Kevelin Jones mentioned in a letter to parents. The varsity was positioned on lockdown and the district canceled lessons the next day.

“By banning backpacks altogether and including an elevated safety presence throughout the district, we are able to higher management what’s being introduced into our buildings,” Jones mentioned within the letter.

He mentioned backpacks “make it simpler for college kids to cover weapons.” Jones additionally famous {that a} clear backpack coverage doesn’t repair the difficulty and the school district said weapons can nonetheless simply be hidden clear backpacks. 

The ban, which began on Might 1, will probably be in place for the remainder of the college 12 months, Jones mentioned.

Backpack debate in age of college violence

Districts for years have struggled over the right way to deal with scholar luggage in an age of college violence and mass shootings. Oxford Group Faculties, following a Nov. 2021 taking pictures that left 4 college students useless, instituted a transparent backpack coverage. However a recent report into safety at the district famous some college students had been nonetheless noticed with opaque backpacks.

Some faculty districts have metallic detectors and display college students day by day as they enter the college. However studies have found that the student populations of faculties with metallic detectors are largely made up of scholars of shade. And a few college students have mentioned the presence of metallic detectors make them really feel like criminals.

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Contributing: Francisco Guzman, USA TODAY

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