Newest School Safety Updates: Clear Backpacks


South River School District, of Middlesex County, New Jersey, will require students to use clear backpacks in all South River district schools beginning this upcoming school year.

The district made this announcement in a letter to parents on July 27, 2022, saying "we will be refining our current safety protocol and procedures...[and] implementing the mandatory use of clear backpacks starting this upcoming school year for all of our schools."

The letter cites how "many districts have adopted [clear backpacks] over the last several years..." and references the South River District High School which instituted a "clear backpack policy" during the 2019-2020 school year, something they continue to require.

The letter says this new policy is "just an 'extra' measure in keeping prohibited items from entering our schools."

  • One clear backpack will be provided at no cost to the parents of each student.
  • Backpack pick-up days will be announced by each school.
  • Parents/Students can purchase their own clear backpack.
  • Extra clear backpacks cost $7.00 each, at the school’s main office.
  • Handbags or personal items are allowed but should be smaller than a half sheet of paper.
  • Lunch boxes are allowed but should be left in the locker/lunch bin when not eating

South River School District includes four schools and ~2,325 students.

Just a week earlier, the Dallas Independent School District, the second largest school district in Texas, announced mandates for all students to wear clear or mess backpacks starting in the 2022-2023 school year. 

The Dallas Independent School District includes 233 schools and ~145,113 students.

The district's decision followed two months after the tragic Uvalde, Texas shootings at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers.

School districts all around the country, especially in Texas, have been making the switch to mandatory clear backpacks as of late.

The Southside Independent School District in San Antonio, the Harper Independent School District, about 90 miles northwest of San Antonio, and the Ingleside Independent School District near Corpus Christi all announced similar "clear backpack" mandates in June 2022.

This isn't the first time school districts have adopted a clear backpack mandate. 

In 2018, following an incident where a .22 caliber handgun was seized from a 9-year-old student outside an elementary school in New Jersey, Lakewood Public School District mandated a clear backpack requirement.

Although research shows clear backpacks may not provide as much safety as school districts believe, the trend has taken off following the increasing public awareness of the ongoing gun-death epidemic in America.

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