The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and the district has taken several steps to ensure schools are safe learning environments. Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, students in sixth through 12th grade will be required to use clear or mesh backpacks. Other bags will no longer be allowed.
Students will be able to carry in their backpack a non-clear pouch no larger than 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches to hold personal items, such as cellphones, money, and hygiene products.
Our decision stems from safety recommendations made by the district’s Safety Task Force and Internal Task Force as well as feedback from students, parents, and the community.
We acknowledge that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns. This is merely one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety.
The district has purchased and will distribute a free clear backpack to secondary students before the start of the school year.
All backpacks not meeting the criteria outlined above will be collected and kept in the school office where the student’s parent or guardian can pick them up.
For frequently asked questions, see below or visit dallasisd.org/backpacks
Frequently Asked Questions
How do clear or mesh backpacks contribute to safety?
By being able to easily see the items in the backpacks as students enter the school, campus personnel will be able to ensure that prohibited items are not included among the students’ belongings. Clear or mesh backpacks will also speed up students entering the school at the beginning of the day because opening and inspecting every backpack may not be necessary.
Campus personnel may still require students to open and inspect individual backpacks.
Is there a specific size or shape for the backpack?
Clear or mesh backpacks for middle school can be about 12 inches wide by 16.5 inches tall and 5 inches deep and have zippered outer pockets.
Clear or mesh backpacks for high school students can be about 13 inches wide by 17.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches deep and have a zippered outer pocket.
Can the backpack be clear-colored plastic?
The plastic must be completely transparent and should have no color.
Can the clear backpack have a solid color back?
The backpacks must be clear throughout, but the straps to carry them can be a solid color.
What if we cannot pick up the clear backpack before the beginning of the school year?
Schools will publicize several times and dates during which students can pick up the backpacks prior to the beginning of the school year. If a student has not picked up the clear backpack provided by the district before the first day of school, one will be provided on the first day; however, backpacks that are not clear or mesh will be taken up and returned to a parent/guardian only in the school’s main office.
What if the backpack provided by the district breaks, is lost or is stolen?
Students must use clear or mesh backpacks. If the clear backpack provided by the district is unusable or is lost or stolen, the parent or guardian must ensure the student has a replacement available. Only clear or mesh backpacks will be allowed on campus.
We want to purchase additional clear backpacks, where can we get one?
Clear backpacks are available from a number of retailers in the community, including the ones below.
- Academy Sports
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Office Depot
Mesh backpacks are also available from a number of retailers.
We can’t afford a replacement backpack, can the district help?
Dallas ISD is working with partners to have a number of clear backpacks available for families who may not have the means to purchase a new one during the school year. Schools will share procedures to obtain a donated replacement backpack.
How did the district decide to require clear or mesh backpacks for secondary students?
In Dallas ISD, safety is a top priority. Based on multiple data points from stakeholder input as well as recommendations from the district’s Safety Task Force and Internal Task Force, the decision was made to purchase clear backpacks for each secondary student and to require backpacks where contents are visible to continue to reduce risks that could put students and staff in harm’s way. Stakeholder input has been critical as the district identifies areas where there has been success as well as areas for enhanced safety opportunities. Clear and mesh backpacks are just one of several safety measures.
Who served on the safety task forces?
The district commissioned an internal and external task force to look at school safety and make recommendations to increase school safety. Principals, teachers, security professionals, parents and community members served on the two groups as they looked at best practices from national and local safety data. We also looked at feedback received from a student and parent survey. We recognize that requiring clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate all safety concerns. Improving school safety will require multiple measures to make our schools as safe as possible.