Local News

Wayne Students Must Pack Books Without Backpacks

Posted August 4, 1999

— Book bags that are so popular on many high school campuses will have to stay at home in one school system.

High school principals in Wayne County say the bags will not be welcome when students go back to class Monday.

The leaders want better control over what students are bringing to school.

Eastern Wayne High School does not have much trouble with violence. Last year, school administrators found two knives on campus that were hidden in book bags. This year, the bags are gone.

All six of Wayne County's high schools are forbidding students to carry book bags to class.

"The hiding place of choice happens to be book bags, and we think if we can control the book bags in our classrooms and around campus, then we will take away a possible hiding place for these things," said Morris Kornegay, Eastern Wayne principal.

A host of security changes are on tap for the year. Every high school in Wayne County will have trained law enforcement, and at Eastern Wayne, students will be paid to alert teachers to drugs or weapons.

However, everyone is talking about the bags. Some students like the new rule but say those extra trips to the locker will not be easy.

"You should get more time between classes because you've got to get to your locker and get a book, and you have to go back and get it again. They should allow you more time to do it," said sophomore Jonathan Thibodeaux.

Teachers say the ban is a positive step even if it will take some getting used to.

"I rest easier knowing that safety is an issue and that the principals and administration are thinking about our safety and mostly, of course, the safety of our students," said teacher Carol Moore.

School leaders say the students will learn to live with the new rules even if they cause an inconvenience.

With the recent rash of violence in other places, administrators do not want to take any chances.

School leaders say the bags are also good hiding places for drugs. Last year at Eastern Wayne, half of the confiscated drugs were sneaked onto campus in book bags.

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