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Backpack policy in Idaho school district adjusted after further review

Students at Jefferson School District's 251 secondary schools in Idaho can now have clear backpacks after the district initially banned all bookbags last month.

Students at Jefferson School District's 251 secondary schools in Idaho can now have clear backpacks after the district initially banned all bookbags last month. (CNN via EastIdahoNews)


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RIGBY, Idaho— Students at Jefferson School District 251 secondary schools in Idaho can now have clear backpacks after the district initially banned all bookbags last month.

The decision was announced in an email from Rigby Middle School Principal Richard Howard sent to parents Friday morning. A district spokesperson said further information will be released about all secondary schools in the near future.

"We are permitting clear backpacks to be used at Rigby Middle School to transport school materials to and from school," Howard wrote in the email. "Backpacks may be inspected at any time by the school and are to be kept in student lockers during the school day."

The adjusted policy still does not let students have backpacks in the halls or the classrooms.

On Sept. 23, Jefferson School District 251 banned backpacks in its secondary schools in the hours after deputies took an emotionally struggling 13-year-old girl into custody after finding a gun in her backpack. It marked the second gun incident at the school after a sixth-grade student opened fire with a handgun in May, where two students and a custodian were shot, but not killed.

In the weeks following the ban on backpacks, Dozens of parents met at the Rigby Police Department to discuss permanent solutions to safety concerns at the schools.

Students also found their own solutions to the ban, as seen in viral videos posted to Tik Tok. Students were seen bringing their school supplies in shopping carts, wagons, baby strollers and even kitchen appliances. Jefferson Jefferson School District 251 Superintendent Chad Martin addressed the viral video earlier this week.

"I think that all kids need to be able to deal with things and I think they are dealing with it," Martin told EastIdahoNews.com. "We hope (the backpack ban) is a temporary thing until we get a more permanent fix. If this can be a positive thing that they enjoy for a little bit, that's wonderful."

In the wake of the school shooting, the district has created a student safety coordinator position to help get social and emotional help curriculum into the middle schools. Each week for 30 minutes the district will be also helping students connect with their peers and adults.

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Eric Grossarth

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