When some Curie High School students arrived for classes after Labor Day, they were surprised to learn that their backpacks were not up to code.
The Chicago school adopted a clear backpack policy several years ago, requiring students to don see-through bags instead of opaque or multicolor ones. However, administrators didn't begin enforcing the policy until Tuesday, according to local outlet WGN-TV.
Some students told NBC Chicago they were instructed to leave school if they did not have the proper backpack. "They just told us if you don't have a clear book bag that you have to leave," sophomore Nayeli Martinez recalled.
However, Chicago Pubic Schools officials said children were not turned away but were told to leave their banned bags with security for the day, reports WGN-TV.
The clear backpack initiative is part of an effort to improve school safety. The high school posted a message about the policy on its website before the new school year started, and the principal reportedly made an announcement about the policy enforcement last week.
According to NBC Chicago, parents also received phone calls about the policy. Nevertheless, parent Tara Umstead told the outlet that she “never received a phone call at all.”
Some students suggest the policy is counterintuitive, claiming that clear backpacks put their safety at risk.
Student Patrice Coleman told WGN-TV she is concerned for the personal items she keeps in her backpack, such as money and her cell phone. "I’ve seen a lot of people get their stuff stolen out of their book bag right in front of their face," she said, adding that see-through bags are "basically an easy target for you to get beat up."