TX Panhandle school bans backpacks from campus, citing safety concerns

TX Panhandle school bans backpacks from campus, citing safety concerns

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The classrooms and hallways in Dalhart Intermediate may look a bit different this upcoming school year as officials recently banned the use of backpacks.

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Principal Misty Heiskell said the decision comes after the school's Campus Performance Committee deemed backpacks pose a safety hazard.

"The decision wasn't made lightly, we had a committee that started discussing changes back in January," said Heiskell. "We did put it on our school supply list so parents wouldn't purchase backpacks, we wanted to make sure the word was out there.

Heiskell said last school year an 8-inch knife was confiscated from a student's backpack.

"That incident was just another reason for our decision, we thought if this can happen, anything can," said Heiskell. "Safety is our number one priority here at Dalhart Intermediate and all schools in the district."

Heiskell said along with safety concerns, backpacks also pose health concerns, as students were bringing in bugs in their backpacks such as lice and cockroaches.

Students were also bringing in backpacks filled with extra and unnecessary items or sometimes even empty backpacks which can take up hallway space.

Some parents are hailing the decision as a good one.

"A lot of times the backpack would be forgotten and have to be run down to school later in the morning," said Dalhart parent Tony Castellano. "Sometimes, the backpacks are left at friends' houses and maybe even left on a bus, so I like the idea."

Others aren't so sure.

"I don't like it because it's just hard for them to keep organized and carry everything," said parent Kelsey Clark.

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