A new Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) requirement regarding the use of backpacks in middle and high schools will take effect April 24, making the rule consistent across the school system.
When they return from spring break, middle and high school students will have to store their backpacks in their lockers during the school day. Principals and administrators will work with students to ensure there is enough time allotted between classes to go to their lockers. Students will be allowed to carry a small, personal bag no larger than a standard adult hand throughout the day.
The backpack rule is not a new one to CCPS. Prior to April 24, five middle and high schools already required students to store their book bags in their lockers. While the new requirement sets a consistent rule for middle and high schools, it also strengthens school safety.
The change is in response to recent issues where backpacks have been used to conceal items that threaten school safety.
“We are continuously looking at procedures to improve and enhance school safety, and I understand this change will take some getting used to,” Kimberly Hill, superintendent of schools, said. “We believe this rule is a piece of the bigger picture in keeping our schools a safe place to work and learn.”
“The change is not the entire solution. There is no one thing that can solve all school safety issues,” said Jason Stoddard, director of school safety and security. “This requirement is another layer in keeping concealed weapons out of our schools.”
In the realm of school safety, the best way to keep staff and students safe is through building relationships which bolster the See Something, Say Something initiative.
“Students and staff at a school know their building and the people in it better than anyone,” Stoddard said. “We have been able to bring about peaceful conclusions to potential safety threats thanks to students and staff members who heard or saw something that didn’t seem right. They reported these incidents, they kept their school safe. The model of See Something, Say Something works.”
CCPS has adopted a number of new safety rules in light of recent attacks made on schools around the country, including one in neighboring St. Mary’s County in 2018.
The school system has created an anonymous safety reporting tool on the CCPS website, added more emergency training for staff and increased background checks and training for substitutes, volunteers and temporary and new employees.
To learn more about CCPS’s school safety enhancements, go to the school security webpage at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/safety-and-security.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.