Parents of Clayton County Public Schools have questions about the district’s new clear bookbag requirement. Chief among those questions: Why not install metal detectors instead?

Some parents say clear bookbags won’t make any difference if students carry weapons in their pockets or stuffed down their pants. Others point out that a school shouldn’t feel like a prison, where everyone is being searched all the time.

Some adults also have expressed concern about girls’ feminine hygiene products being visible in their bookbags, potentially subjecting the girls to harassment.

Trinelle Gillespie posted in the Clayton County Moms and Dads Facebook group, “Metal detectors are a great idea. I know that funding is limited but if we all pull together as parents and community, we could have at least one at every school. For example, one costs $2400. If a school has 600 students, every parent/guardian can contribute $4. If a parent/guardian has more than 1 child, maybe the PTA or Title I funding can pick up a portion. Just a thought.”

CCBOE President Jessie Goree applauded that suggestion: “I love your cooperative idea! We do have metal detectors in our schools. We are placing machines in our middle and high schools that are similar to the machines used at the GICC and stadium. They cost about $80,000 a piece. We have never said that we wouldn’t place them in schools. We’ve had parents that are opposed to metal detectors. We’re trying to do everything that we can to have a safe environment. We realize nothing is 100% effective though.”

In a “Clear Bookbag Mandate F.A.Q.” sent out Wednesday, CCPS said, “The district continues to address safety measures. These efforts are ongoing and include a variety of strategies. The use of clear bookbags is another layer to enhance a safe learning and teaching environment for our schools.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect:

  • Schools will provide one free clear bookbag per student during the Open House Meet and Greet, on the first day of school, or during the first week of school. However, shipping issues might delay those bookbags. Parents are encouraged to buy a clear bookbag if they can afford to.
  • Mesh bags are not allowed.
  • All students from pre-K through 12th grade must have clear bookbags.
  • Lunch bags, lunch boxes, and purses do not have to be clear. However, they are subject to search at any time.
  • It’s OK to have clear bookbags with designs on them, as long as the things inside the bag are still visible.
  • Each school will decide whether students can use lockers this year.
  • Student athletes with equipment or duffle bags will have to turn in those bags to their coach, advisor, or activity sponsor when they get to school. The bags will be kept in “secured storage” until it’s time for practice or competition.
Image: Clayton County Public Schools

For a complete list of school supplies, visit the website of your child’s school. Some schools may not have updated their list for this year, so contact your school with questions or check their website later.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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1 Comment

  1. I understand the state has a budget surplus. Instead of additional refunds, please, consider earmarking funds to school districts for safety measures like metal detectors. School ventilation systems still have not been upgraded.