LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Longview Independent School District has implemented a clear backpack policy for the 2019-20 school year on East Texas Advanced Academy (ETAA) charter campuses. Campuses not overseen by ETAA will not be affected, a Longview ISD spokesperson said.
Longview ISD spokeswoman Elizabeth Ross said six ETAA campuses are testing the policy before it possibly goes district-wide.
“The reason why it’s only on certain campuses and not district-wide was because ETAA was kind enough to kind of pilot this safety program for us, before we attempt to do this district-wide in upcoming school years” Ross explained.
ETAA will provide backpacks to the students, free of charge.
There has been push-back from parents who want their child to be free to express themselves, or don’t want their child to have the same backpack as everyone else, Ross said. In response, Longview ISD and ETAA will allow families to buy their own backpacks, as long as they are within campus guidelines.
“We want to see how this year affects the families, the students, the teachers that have those clear backpacks,” Ross said.
"We don’t want to hurt your child’s feelings, or make them sad because they have to have a clear backpack. But what we want them to do is be safe, Ross said. “So, this is a proactive measure to make sure our campuses are safe.”
An exception will be made for medical devices and personal hygiene products; students will be allowed to carry personal items in a small pouch to be kept in the pack, Ross explained.
The policy is not completely new to Longview ISD. In 2018, the district adopted a similar clear bag policy to be in place for all the district’s athletic events.