DCHS implements backpack policy for 2018-19 school year

Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Students at Dawson County High School will be getting additional lessons in the importance of proper planning and organization during the 2018-2019 school year, as the result of a new school policy which doesn’t allow students to use or carry backpacks in the halls and classrooms of the school.

The policy, which DCHS Principal Wade Murphy said has been an idea of the administration for some time, prohibits students from having their backpacks in class or in the halls during the course of the day, though


will be allowed to bring them to and from school as long as they are stored in the student’s lockers during regular hours.

Additionally, Murphy said that female students will be allowed to bring a small purse or bag for personal needs as long as the bag does not exceed the size of a textbook.

Murphy said that there were multiple reasons for the decision, but that first and foremost the ban was to address safety concerns caused by backpacks clogging classroom aisles creating a hazard in the event that students and teachers need to leave a room quickly. Additionally, with concerns of school violence, the ban is one more way for the school to monitor what

students are bringing in to

a classroom.

The new policy also serves an additional function, according to Murphy, as it frees up more space in classrooms for teachers to move through and interact with students in, part of a teaching method known

as “proximity”

that gets teachers more physically engaged

with their classrooms.

“We also ask our teachers to get up and move about the classroom, we want them to teach, we don’t want teachers just standing in front of students and lecturing, we want them out within the student body in the classes,” Murphy said. “It’s hard to do that if you’re always stepping around and tripping over backpacks.”

Allowing students to have backpacks placed in an area at the back of the classroom is a common retort to the ban that Murphy and his fellow educators have heard. He said that such a method only serves as a greater distraction when students begin to get up to retrieve items from their backpacks every few minutes.

This new policy, he said, will place more responsibility on the students to ensure that they have all the necessary materials they need, but that as education needs and policies change, it is just something that will need to be adjusted to, citing districts such as Miles City that have already made the transition to the ban.

“I think you’ll find that it’s not really an altogether out of the norm for a lot of schools across the country, a lot of schools are going this way,” Murphy said. “Students are going to have to be organized to get from point A to point B, and they’ll have to figure out how to manage their time in between classes.”

Reach Chris Deverell at news@rangerreview.com.