Clear Backpacks Debate
Part of a series on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting. [View Related Entries]
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Clear Backpacks Debate refers to the mandatory requirement for students to use translucent bag that some schools instituted in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting. While schools state the the backpacks was a safety precaution, others contested the requirement, stating it violated the students' privacy.
On February 14th, 2018, a gunman activated a fire alarm and opened fire using a .223 caliber AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. After initial fleeing the scene by blending in with escaping students, the suspect was subsequently apprehended by authorities in Coral Springs, Florida.
A total of 17 people were killed and another 15 were wounded in the attack. The suspected gunman was identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was apprehended and taken into custody following the shooting.
On March 21st, The New York Times reported that after the brother of the shooting suspect was arrested for trespassing on school grounds and two students were arrested for bringing knives to school, students of Marjory Stoneman would be required to use clear backpacks at school. Broward County Public Schools superintendent Robert W. Runcie announced that any student that did not have a translucent bags would be provided one free of charge.
Some people reacted negatively to the announcement and voiced their disapproval on Twitter. Marjory Stoneman student and shooting survivor Lauren Hogg tweeted, "Great. Because clear backpacks are gonna fix everything. I appreciate the attempt, but I’d rather have common since gun laws than a clear backpack. #NeverAgain #EnoughIsEnough." The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 1,200 retweets and 5,200 likes in 24 hours.
Fellow Marjory Stoneman student Carly Novell tweeted, "Clear backpacks don't do anything except make us look stupid. We want to be safe, not uncomfortable. The only thing that can really have an impact on our safety is gun control." Within 24 hours, the tweet (shown below, center) received more than 1,400 retweets and 7,600 likes.
Twitter user and activist @KenidraRWoods_ tweeted, "well we already have clear backpacks at our school – a boy still managed to bring a knife and bullets so yeah. If they want to commit a crime, THEY WILL FIND A WAY. This is not always effective just saying." The post (shown below, right) received more than 580 retweets and 2,400 likes in 24 hours.
Distribution of Backpacks
On April 1st, Superintendent Robert Runcie responded to a letter from a student who disapproved of the requirement. He tweeted, "Dear Holden, Thank you for your well written letter. We will continue to reevaluate & make changes based on experience & feedback from you & other students, school staff, and input from our community. We love our students & teachers. Our #1 priority is the safety of our schools." The post (shown below) received more than 80 retweets and 600 likes in four days.
On April 2nd, 2018, the backpacks were distributed to students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That day, Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Kyra Parrow tweeted a picture of the backpacks being handed out. She captioned the post, "Thousands of clear backpacks and lanyards were distributed today at douglas. They’re just an illusion of security." Within 48 hours, the post (shown below) received more than 1,400 retweets and 7,200 likes.
After receiving the bags, students tweeted their frustration with the new protocol. Lauren Hogg tweeted a picture of the bag with the caption, "My new backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda. I feel sooo safe now. As much as I appreciate the effort we as a country need to focus on the real issue instead of turning our schools into prisons. #clearbackpacks #MarchForOurLives" The post (shown below, left) received more than 10,000r retweets and 44,000 likes in 48 hours.
Student Delaney Tarr tweeted, "Starting off the last quarter of senior year right, with a good ol’ violation of privacy!" The post (shown below, center) received more than 4,400 retweets and 40,000 likes in two days.
Another sudent, Carmen Lo, posted a picture of herself wearing the backpack with a note that reads "This backpack is probably worth more than my life" inside it. The post (shown below, right) received more than 11,000 retweets and 48,000 likes in two days.
Students also began filling the backpacks with different items that are for private use. The following day, student Cameron Kasky tweeted a picture of himself with a clear backpack filled with tampons. The post (shown below) received more than 8,700 retweets and 60,000 likes in 24 hours.
Several media outlets covered the response to the the clear backpacks including BuzzFeed,  CNN, GQ, USA Today and more.
 The New York Times – Florida School, on Edge Since Shooting, Requires Students to Carry Clear Backpacks
 Twitter – @lauren_hoggs's Tweet
 Twitter – @car_nove's Tweet
 Twitter – @KenidraRWoods_'s Tweet
 Twitter – @longlivekcx's Tweet
 Twitter – "@lauren_hoggshttps://twitter.com/lauren_hoggs/status/980812862162657281
 Twitter – @delaneytarr's Tweet
 Twitter- @xo_karmin_ox's Post
 BuzzFeed – Teens At Marjory Stoneman Douglas Made Jokes About Their New Clear Backpacks When They Returned To School
 CNN – They led a national march. Now Parkland students return to a school they say 'feels like jail'
 GQ – How the Parkland Students Are Using Their Clear Backpacks for Protest
 USA Today – Parkland student fills his clear backpack with tampons as new school security measure is in effect
 Twitter – @RobertwRuncie's Tweet
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