KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) – Starting this fall, The Knox County Board of Education has decided to implement a “no backpack” policy for its two high schools.
Communications Director Frank Shelton said that the middle schools have had a ‘No backpack’ policy for about six-to-seven years now, and since the policy is tried and true, the Board decided to take it to the next level.
“So this is going to work out well because the middle schools students feeding into Knox Central already have a ‘no backpack policy’,” Shelton said.
The Board said it will be an easy transition for the incoming freshman classes this fall.
The decision comes as there were also logistical hurdles to be ironed out before the new school year, starting with traffic jams at the metals detectors.
“With the metal detectors and having 400 to 500 students trying to enter the building each morning, the backpacks were taken a lot of time going off, having to search them,” Shelton said.
So by implementing the policy, the Board anticipates being able to streamline getting the students through the school doors, and into the classrooms, within a matter of minutes.
The Board also wanted to do away with backpacks for the student’s health benefits.
“How backpacks can cause strain on student’s back, and create posture issues,” Shelton said.
Now, the students in Knox County public schools are using Chromebooks.
Shelton said the pandemic shifted the students learning to a digital platform, so the student’s books and notes are all consolidated on one laptop.
The students will still have their lockers, however, some students feel that will not be enough to help them balance all their school materials, plus their phones.
Sophomore Elissa Smith said, “We just need our backpacks to carry our stuff around, half the kids don’t know how to use their lock and really don’t have the time to.”
Smith’s classmate Chloey Bingham said, “The rate of broken Chromebooks is going to go up, because it was already pretty bad this past year, and we have to pay for them.”
Sophomore Abigail Mills said she concerned about everything becoming a “jumbled mess”. “I mean you got hundreds of kids walking around in school carrying loads of school work, everyday and bumping into each other.”
Sophomore Abbey Carew said she was worried about going back and forth from her locker downstairs, to some of her classes upstairs, with limited time between classes, “If you’re late for class they’ll give you tardy slips which count bad on our attendance.”
The Board anticipated some of the aforementioned concerns the students expressed. Shelton said the Board has used Esser Funding to create solutions for the students, like supplying the classrooms with materials ahead of time to eliminate wasted time for the students carrying extra items.
Shelton said that the policy will have some flexibility for athletes, students in clubs and organizations taking overnight trips, or any other occasions that would require a student to have a backpack.