Public Relations Officer
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2017
Backpacks Banned in Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board
The banning of backpacks in schools in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board has caused a series of obstacles which impede its students from a suitable learning environment, and is a serious concern in the views of the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC). Without backpacks, students must carry any supplies required in class, including books, binders, pencil cases, laptops, and even medication.
As a result, bringing essential supplies to school has become a struggle for many students. Students are more likely to drop their belongings: a severe issue considering the fact that many students use electronic devices, such as laptops or tablets, which could be easily damaged. Reportedly, the halls have also become more crowded and hectic, with students rushing to lockers to store or retrieve learning materials and often arriving late to class simply because of the inconveniences caused by the ban.
In opposition to the backpack ban at their school, students at Cardinal Ledger Secondary have started an online petition, which will be sent to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board upon reaching 1000 signatories. Describing her experience with the ban, a grade 10 student from Cardinal Ledger says, “It’s a lot of stuff to carry and I often have to go up flights of stairs ... I have tried but I can’t hold on to the railing and opening doors is a struggle, so I have to wait for someone to open it for me. I dropped all my stuff two times. I’m scared of the day I drop my binder and everything falls out.”
The ban on backpacks was introduced to reduce clutter and minimize possible tripping hazards in small classrooms. Other reasons for the ban included the back, shoulder, and neck pain which backpacks can cause, their increasing susceptibility to thievery, and misuse from students who use them to store clothing and avoid wearing school uniforms. While these concerns are valid, backpacks are essential tools which allow students to carry the supplies they need with efficiency and ease.
The FCSS-FESC believes that banning backpacks in school is not only unreasonable, but ultimately detrimental to education. Educational supplies and the means to carry them at school should be readily and easily accessible to students. Having the necessary supplies to be prepared for and successful in class should not be a daily struggle for students.
The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.
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