Dear Principal Ellingson

The purpose of this essay is to inform you of the need to change the backpack policy. There are two benefits to changing the current backpack policy: students would be more prepared for class, and teachers would have more students prepared and present for the full duration of instruction. First, I am going to discuss how backpacks contribute to a safer school. Then, I am going to explain how backpacks contribute to learning for students. Finally, I will explain how backpacks will provide a sense of autonomy, leading to emotional well-being.

The first point I would like to discuss is how the ability to carry backpacks to and from class would make our school safer. Now that the eighth graders have computers, they would be less likely to drop them if they were being carried around in backpacks. There would also be fewer students dropping their things on their way to class, and consequently, there would be fewer students that trip over said items. Plus, there would be less running in the halls and less frantic students cluttered in the hallways due to the fact that they would no longer have the need to make unnecessary trips to their locker.

Furthermore, backpacks contribute to an effective educational environment. When students do not have to run to their locker in between classes, they are on time, they are present, and they have their necessary materials. With permission to use backpacks, students wouldn’t have to make quite as many locker trips, and they would have fewer tardies. This also benefits teachers and allows them to begin class on time without the burden of tardy students. With fewer tardies, students would also get fewer write-ups. In addition to course materials, students would learn organizational skills, as they would have binders and materials in one location. This is a skill that is transferrable to a future career.

Equally important to the educational benefits is the impact on student’s well-being. In a very controlled environment like a school, it’s nice to have the right to choose something. If we have the right to bring our backpacks to class, we would feel valued. For instance, why are teachers are allowed to bring their bags, but students are not? Students who are treated equally will feel more valued and more committed to learning. Plus, students that choose to use backpacks would have less to carry in their hands, which would ease anxiety about whether we remembered to grab everything we need. Less anxious students creates a happier school environment.

The current policy is in place because the current administration believes that backpacks will result in back pain. However, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, children and adolescents who carry backpacks are not at higher risk of developing back pain. Additionally, the current administration believes that students would be able to carry around dangerous things in their backpacks. This sentiment, however, is false. Binders are not any safer than backpacks, because students are just as able to bring dangerous objects in their binders and lunch boxes as they are in their backpacks. Even if someone brought something in their backpack and it was left in their locker, why would that be safer? People could still get hurt, and there isn’t much that will change if backpacks were allowed in class. If we want students to feel valued and have positive feelings toward the classroom environment, we need to provide them a sense of autonomy. Being able to bring one’s backpack to class with them would increase emotional well-being by giving them a say in how they can prepare for class.

In conclusion, the current policy sets students up for failure. The no backpack rule means a more dangerous school, makes students less prepared for class, and makes students feel more anxious and controlled. Changing this policy would alleviate these issues. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

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