Harrisburg High School beefing up security, including enforcement of clear backpacks

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Students at Harrisburg High School are soon going to have to start using clear backpacks.

A spokesperson for the district says a policy requiring that was already been in place, but parents and school board members say it wasn’t really being enforced.

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It’s one of several new measures to protect students.

In a letter sent to parents last Friday, Sept. 10, the district said “while a few students have made unacceptable choices, the majority of our students are attending class and have remained academically focused.”

That could refer to an incident last week when shots were fired in the parking lot of Harrisburg High School’s John Harris campus.

“It’s scary when you get on social media and see all the videos and things of that nature,” Starkisha Williams, mother of a sophomore at Harrisburg High School, said. “That tells me that the children are there, the children are around it, so they’re not running away from it.”

Since then, the district has rolled out several safety measures, including more adult supervision, and requiring students to remove all hats and hoods before entering the building.

In addition, students now have to keep their schedules with them, show their student ID to get in, and wear the ID while inside.

“We need to make sure that the students coming into the school are allowed to be at the school so I do think it’s a good idea and I commend them for trying. It’s a start,” Williams said.

Students are starting to receive clear backpacks at no cost to them. Williams’ daughter got hers on Friday, Sept. 17.

“It may have the students think twice before they decide to bring a knife or before they decide to bring mace or whatever it is because they don’t have anywhere to hide it,” Williams said.

Bags that aren’t transparent won’t be allowed. Many parents and school board members say they weren’t aware of the enforcement.

“They’re never going to be able to please all parents. All parents are going to have an issue,” Williams said. “I hear some complaining because they paid all this money for a bookbag. Now the kids have to wear a clear book bag, but I’d rather safety over fashion.”

When pressed further about why certain safety measures are only now just being implemented or enforced, the district said no one was available for an interview.

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