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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New rule in Parkland´s High School raises polemic

Por Damian

The student Cameron Kasky went to school recently with a backpack full of sanitary pads, as a protest against the school's new rule, which only allows transparent backpacks. For him and dozens of schoolmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the new decree that requires students to carry their belongings in transparent rucksacks is a privacy violation.

And since it came into effect (almost two months after a former student entered the schoolyard with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle and killed 17 people) students have complained that the rule is unnecessary and invasive. "Unless they are armored (the backpacks), I do not feel more secure," Kasky wrote on Twitter, who created the activist group Never Again and helped organize the student protest March for Our Lives.

In their first couple of school days after spring break, some students have turned the backpacks the school gives them into impromptu signs of protest. Others have used them to make jests.

Delaney Tarr, another student activist at the school, spent a good part of Monday night, and part of the early hours of Tuesday morning, decorating her school backpack with paint, pins and tampons. On the front of the backpack she painted: "We need a real change". On the back, she put a brooch that said: "Enough".

The student leaders of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have demanded bigger control of firearms since 17 of their classmates and teachers were massacred at the school last February 14. But recent safety standards aimed at preventing more incidents of that type have gone too far, they argue. The scholars also say they are too restrictive and ineffective.

"People with the authority to make changes are still making the wrong changes," Emma Gonzalez, a leading member of the movement, wrote on Twitter. "No matter how much we tell them to listen to us, there will always be a manufacturer of backpacks that says we need transparent backpacks, or some companies that rents barricades and think we need more protection. But those barricades can be skipped easily and make the students feel like they are a combination of prisoners and cattle. "

"When people pay money for these modifications at our school (the only one that is being modified in the county), that means someone is being paid, and I'm sick of being treated like prize-winning pigs at a fair," Gonzalez added.

But despite protests on social networks, the "majority" of teachers have supported the policy, said Greg Pittman, a US history teacher at the school, which has about 3,300 students.

On the other hand, Principal Thompson, much loved by the students, has begged for patience from teachers, students and parents as the school and Broward School District management decide how to ensure long-term student safety.