Ennis ISD ends clear backpack requirement for students

A North Texas school district that required students to use clear backpacks after recent school shootings is now ending that policy.

Ennis ISD said the backpacks did improve safety, but they also had a pretty serious flaw – they fell apart rapidly with regular usage by kids. Beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving, students will once again be able to carry traditional backpacks.

Ennis ISD created the clear backpack policy after the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in February and an earlier school shooting in nearby Italy ISD. It took effect in august, but the interim superintendent says the policy simply isn't practical.

“About the second month of school kids started carrying their backpacks like this because straps had pulled loose or they were broken,” said Lloyd Treadwell. “One mother said she purchased $100 backpack with leather straps and in three weeks the straps pulled out of the plastic.”

Treadwell said parents can't find replacements anywhere in town.

“We've tried for weeks to order 200 we can’t even find them,” he said. “Do you ask your parents to keep buying things that don't hold up or bite the bullet, and say it was well intentioned idea but not foolproof? If student wants to hide something they could put it in their lunch box.”

Many parents were initially receptive to the idea.

“There is a lot of craziness in this world,” said mother Amanda Markgraf.

But parents said they did not feel like ending the policy put kids at any greater risk.

“Kids -- they want to do something, they'll find a way,” said Luis Barron.

The district is relying on now staff getting to know and getting students as they enter school each day. Doors also remain locked throughout the day.