On Monday, April 2, when students returned from spring break, clear backpacks and identification badges were distributed to every student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The decision resulted in the majority of the school’s students participating in silent protests in various ways.
Students were notified of the changes that would ensue upon their return to school during their spring break. Many reacted with discontent on social media platforms, such as Twitter, after finding out they would receive backpacks prior to returning to school.
“Enforcing students to wear clear backpacks is simply like putting a band-aid on a broken bone,” junior Natasha Martinez said in a Tweet. Tweets about the backpacks were plentiful this week, in addition to the ones spread during spring break.
Principal Ty Thompson also visited classrooms on Monday to get student insight on the bags. He asked if there were any ideas of what the school can do instead of the clear backpacks, remarking that he did not support the clear bags either. Students brought up concerns regarding the new regulation such as the increased likelihood of robberies, the invasion of privacy and the overall lack of effectiveness.
On April 4, the day after the students received the clear backpacks, many students decorated their bag in a humorous way, but at the same time making a powerful statement. Many students wrote the messages “we need real change” or “this is dumb,” while others created more unique sayings using memes.
Apart from signs, several students chose to send their message through filling their bags with certain items. Junior Cameron Kasky made a point by filling his bag with tampons and even mentioning how he was not aware of expensive feminine products were on Twitter. Additionally, senior Zack Walls filled his bag with water and fish, turning it into a portable fish tank.
“I just wanted to make people smile. I thought it was something funny that would make kids think of the clear backpacks a little more positively,” Walls said.
Shortly after the backpacks were distributed, an Instagram account called @msdcamo2 went viral, reaching around 5,000 followers after only a few days. It was inspired by the @msdcamo comedy account, which featured pictures of people wearing camouflage patterns at MSD.
The account features humorous decorations of the clear bookbags, the majority of which contain memes. For example, senior Julia Bishop’s bag features a picture of character Spongebob and Patrick from the popular show “Spongebob Squarepants” with the caption, “ravioli ravioli give us the gun controli.”
Students also started to attach the $1.05 tags on the bag based on the amount of money Sen. Marco Rubio was given by the NRA divided by the amount of Florida students. The price tag essentially symbolized the students’ individual worth to the lawmaker.
“First, they’re so ineffective, like they genuinely aren’t going to prevent anything. If someone wants to bring a weapon, they can carry it on their person or in a folder or anything like that. Second, they completely violate our Fourth Amendment rights, like my bag is my personal stuff,” freshman Kailey Brown said.
Several students have remarked at the illegitimacy of the clear backpacks, citing a recent student, senior Jordan Salter, who hid a knife in her bra, which would not have been detected by neither clear backpacks nor metal detectors. Despite the strong opposition toward the bags, the MSD student body will be required to continue using these products until further notice.