Better with Backpacks

by Jetta Colsch | Class of 2021 | Dec. 2, 2020

   For a couple of weeks at the beginning of this year while backpacks were permitted (or at least not specifically reprimanded), my life was easy. I would go from class to class with few cares in the world. I knew I had everything I needed. My homework wasn’t forgotten, I had my textbook, and I even had my chapstick, lotion, earbuds, hand sanitizer, and an extra mask. I was set!

   But once teachers began enforcing The Rule, it made it a lot more difficult for me to go about my day. Do I have the right folders with me? Will I remember to switch supplies after lunch? Am I going to need anything else for the class I‘m walking into? I never knew.

   Now, I know this rule wasn’t put into place without having any reasoning behind it, but is it truly helping to combat the concerns that have arisen?

   If the idea was to keep teachers from tripping, they can still fall over our monstrous piles of schoolwork on the floor. If the idea was to keep our school drug-free, anyone could have drugs in their pockets. If the idea to keep guns out of the school, a person could still bring a gun in their waistband or hoodie pocket.

 

   All in all, the backpack rule does nothing to ensure the safety of classmates or teachers. But, it does guarantee an everlasting battle with anxiety over whether or not I’ll arrive at my upcoming 90-minute class with everything I need to have a successful period.

   A lot has changed this year at Hudson High School. But, one thing that hasn’t changed is the unfounded hatred of backpacks in the classroom.

   For years, teachers have enforced a rule against bringing backpacks to class, but I honestly haven’t heard a legitimate point against having them. However, I have found ample reasons as to why they should be allowed.

   First of all, I’m already carrying around multiple books, binders, folders, notebooks, and now an iPad. While it may be a smaller device, we used to at least have computer bags for a

little extra storage (to carry extra pencils, headphones, notecards, a folder, maybe a notebook, etc.) along with a specific place to put our device. Even despite block scheduling lessening our daily load, we have more things to carry and less assistance in doing so.

   And on top of that, we were also asked by administration at a beginning-of-the-year assembly to refrain from stopping at our lockers between classes in order to lessen the number of things we’re touching during the day and to keep traffic flow. In past years, I would stop there 2-4 times a day to make sure I was only carrying supplies for two classes or less. Now, in an attempt to be COVID-compliant, I have twice as much to keep track of per day.

   To me, there seemed only one viable option: carry a backpack.

   It holds everything I need for an entire day of school, including the things I might only sometimes need like headphones or a highlighter. So instead of running to my locker and wasting class time whenever I inevitably forget something, I don’t have to stop at my locker, am better prepared, and make less contact with people and/or objects.

 

   When you think about the “real world” which high schools claim to be preparing us for, everyone you see has everything in one place to keep their things. Whether it’s a lawyer with their briefcase, an athlete with their duffel bag, a parent with their diaper bag, a shopper with her purse, or a college student with, yes, a backpack (woah, they’re permitted on college campuses???), people living their lives outside of high school will always be permitted to have their essentials packed away into some type of bag.

   So, if school is really meant to get us ready for what’s coming next, then shouldn’t we be encouraged to carry all that we may need for the day? Shouldn’t we have the opportunity to properly plan ahead for our classes? Shouldn’t we be allowed to come prepared?

   The answer is yes.