LPS debuts new clear backpack policy for upcoming school year
All Lawton Public Schools students will be required to use clear or mesh backpacks when they return to class next month.
David Hornbeck, district police chief, proposed the policy to the board of education in June 2018 as a safety measure to prevent a student from sneaking a weapon or other illegal paraphernalia into the school. Originally a recommendation last year, the policy is mandatory this year.
“Last year, we feel like if we adopted the policy for the school year, stores and families wouldn’t have enough time to get the product,” he said. “Some of them had already ordered their school supplies for sale. We felt we would be doing a great disservice to our stores and the community to implement it that late. So that’s why we decided to wait a full year.”
All backpacks for any children, from pre-Kindergarten through high school, must be see-through. This will allow for faster bag checks in the morning at secondary schools and will make each school campus safer, Hornbeck said. There wasn’t a specific threat or action that prompted this new policy, but rather the continued pursuit of safety for all schools.
“With the rise of school violence, we feel it is our duty to provide the best security we can to our community,” Hornbeck said. “It’s continually in my mind, what can I do better to enhance security of LPS? We don’t want our schools to feel like a prison. We implement things that are compatible and comfortable with what we and the community are willing to absorb.”