Stoneman Douglas students return to school with stepped-up security, clear backpacks

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to campus Monday with stepped-up security and clear backpacks.

Classes have resumed following spring break and students walked in to a few changes, including free, clear backpacks provided by the district.

The security changes also included:

  • Additional security personnel on campus
  • I.D. badges must be worn by students and staff at all times
  • Use of metal-detecting wands and installed metal detectors

While administrators may have had the best intentions, some students said the changes are too much.

A student said the new backpacks do not help make her feel safer. “How am I supposed to carry around what I need daily in this, for everyone to know what’s going on,” said MSD student Tori Sutton. “They don’t need to know. It’s not helping.”

Students took to social media to express their angst over the new clear backpack policy.

“It was hilarious to see all of us look stupid together, but it made me feel better because we all looked the same,” said student Aalayah Eastmond.

Student Delaney Tarr, who was outspoken during the March For Our Lives event on March 24, also posted on Twitter about the backpacks.

She also posted a tweet shortly after aimed at U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, showing her clear backpack with feminine products inside.

“Feminine hygiene products that we need, we have to carry with us,” said student Kacey Bartley. “We can’t choose to be on our menstrual or not and we can’t carry out things discreetly.”

Outside of the campus, there were Florida Highway Patrol troopers at every exit. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will provide at least eight FHP officers per day.

There were also armed guards and Broward Sheriff’s deputies inside the school.

“I feel that the police there is helping us a little, but it’s too overwhelming,” Sutton said.

Students also were forced to walk through metal fences to get into the school.

“I feel like that’s something that should be at concerts and not at school,” Sutton said.

Administration officials are trying to keep students safe, but MSD student Juliana Campos said they’re missing the point.

“You have no privacy no matter what,” she said. “The little things they’re trying to do is not going to do anything unless they change the laws.”

Monday was also the first day the students were back in class following the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington D.C., where dozens of Douglas students traveled to the nation’s capital to push for gun reform and safer schools.

Stoneman Douglas principal Ty Thompson sent out a robocall to the parents, updating them on the new security measures and also a “non-credible threat” to the school.

Thompson said someone sent an email warning of a threat to the campus. However, upon a search by BSO, deputies determined students weren’t in danger, and they are now investigating to see who made the call.

Students 7News spoke with Monday said they would be OK with metal detectors in school because then they wouldn’t need those new clear backpacks.

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