Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

clear backpacks

Following a deadly mass shooting last month, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida will now be required to wear fully see-through backpacks. (Photo: Eastport)

Demanding Real Gun Control Laws, Parkland Students Reject Mandatory Clear Backpacks That Make School Feel 'Like Jail'

"Because clear backpacks are gonna fix everything," said one with appropriate level of teenage sarcasm

Jessica Corbett

As survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people last month prepare for the student-led "March for Our Lives" in Washington, D.C. on Saturday—part of a national movement to demand stricter gun safety laws—the Florida school district is implementing a new set of controversial rules after the explosion: among them, students will now be required to wear clear backpacks.

"We want to be safe, not uncomfortable. The only thing that can really have an impact on our safety is gun control."
—Carly Novell, Marjory Stoneman Douglas student

Students from the Parkland, Florida high school and other skeptics turned to social media to criticize the measures, which were outlined in a letter to parents from Broward Schools superintendent Robert Runcie on Wednesday.

Runcie wrote that the district will provide free backpacks to students who don't have them, issue identification badges that students and staff must wear at all times, and is reviewing other measures such as installing metal detectors—which the superintendent previously dismissed as ineffective.

A student at another school claimed a clear backpack mandate didn't stop one of her peers from bringing a knife and bullets to school.

The Broward district's announcement came after two Marjory Stoneman Douglas students brought knives to school this week, and the brother of the alleged gunman in the February shooting was arrested for trespassing on school property. The local sheriff's department reportedly suspended a deputy without pay after he was assigned to patrol the campus but was found asleep on the same day that the brother was arrested.

While the Broward district imposes the new safety rules, its students, joined by supporters across the country, are pressuring state and federal lawmakers to overhaul gun laws in response to last month's massacre, which is just the latest in the long series of U.S. mass shootings that are fueling the movement for reform. In addition to the march in D.C. set for March 24, student organizers have planned a nationwide walkout—the second since the Parkland shooting—for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting on April 20.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo