CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools still plans to eventually distribute clear backpacks to high school students, according to superintendent Earnest Winston.
Last week, when schools were giving out the bags, they stopped due to due to a warning tag issue related to possibly harmful materials.
The district spent close to half a million dollars on the backpacks as part of a larger effort to reduce weapons in schools.
"We are talking to the vendor and the manufacturer to make sure that we erase all doubts with regard to the safety of the backpacks," said Winston. "The issue that has come up recently is specifically related to California.”
Winston said CMS wants to do its own investigation into proposition 65 tags on some of the bags. He didn't expand on what exactly an investigation consists of.
"We want to do our own due diligence as another layer of safety, to ensure for all of our families, whose students will be impacted, that the backpacks are indeed safe," Winston said.
Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to people in Californian about significant exposures to chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
Cochran Collegiate Academy and Hopewell High were set to get clear backpacks first.
"People are really happy that we don't have them right now," said Zauryn Moore, a Hopewell High School student. "And some people say they're not going to wear them when they do come in because there's really no point it's downsizing from your bookbag now."
Juan Torres-Munoz, the student advisor for the CMS school board says he’s also against it but can see the other side.
"I also want to raise their voice for those students who do support them, especially those that have been in schools with different incidents relating to guns," he said.
CMS still has no date on when the rollout will continue but Winston said administrators are talking with students and staff.
“We're also seeking additional feedback from our high school principals," he said, "and we will be also involving our high school students as part of that feedback process so that when we implement them, we want to do so in a way that is as smooth as possible.”
The backpacks will join an anonymous reporting app, random weapons searches, and body scanners as deterrents to keep schools safer.
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