Dallas Independent School District Requires Mesh or Clear Backpacks

Dallas Independent School District students who choose to use backpacks next school year will need to make sure they're clear or mesh.

School trustees approved the requirement at Thursday night's meeting.

District administrators said the rule would help make campuses safer and speed the process for students to clear security in the morning. Campuses around the country, including some in Royse City and Garland, have outlawed backpacks that are not mesh or clear.

DISD is working with local vendors to make sure enough bags are available, officials said.

The Dallas school board was split on implementing the policy change. The measure passed in a 4-3 vote, with some trustees questioning whether the requirement of buying the backpacks would present a hardship on parents.

"We are the district that is 83 percent eligible for reduced breakfast or lunch," said trustee Jerome Garza, who reluctantly supported the measure. "This is an item that I will clearly be watching very closely."

Trustee Carla Ranger questioned whether the bags really would be safer because a weapon still could be concealed in an item, such as a scarf. She also worried that students might be embarrassed about carrying some items in their backpacks.

"I am concerned about the lack of privacy with the items - for males, and especially for females," said Ms. Ranger, who voted against the measure.