Home / Blog / GRPS parents react to backpack ban

GRPS parents react to backpack ban

Jan 23, 2024Jan 23, 2024

Next up in 5

Example video title will go here for this video

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Public School District parents have questions about the new policy on backpacks and how it will impact their students' education and safety.

Parents tell 13 ON YOUR SIDE that they are concerned about both what happened at Stocking Elementary School Wednesday, as well as what the new policy means for their kids.

"Right now, as a parent, you're always worried about your kid at school," Eric Benedict, a CA Frost Environmental Science Academy Elementary parent, says.

This was the fourth time a gun was found with a student at a Grand Rapids Public School. This time, the weapon was loaded and in the third grader's backpack at Stocking Elementary.

The district announced that backpacks are not allowed at school starting Thursday.

"I think the backpacks are a half-measure," Benedict says.

The district parent says he's open to more safety measures.

"I am open to anything that would keep my daughter safe at school. And if that includes a metal detector, I'm okay with that as well," Benedict says.

He's concerned that it took four incidents like this for the district to make some changes, and he wants to see quicker and clearer communication from the district.

"Even a friend of mine who has a child in third grade at Stocking, they found out about it from the news before they found out about it from the school," Benedict says.

Tiffany Teddy, another district parent, agrees.

"I just wish that they would reach out to the parents a little sooner than what they did," she says.

Her daughter was in her pre-school class at Stocking Elementary when the gun was discovered. Teddy found out about the incident close to the end of the school day, hours after it had been resolved.

She says she's scared for her children's safety.

"I think I might eventually go to homeschooling just because there's been so many, like a lot of shootings everywhere. And it's very scary," Teddy says.

When it comes to the backpack ban, she is more interested in a smaller or clear backpack option.

"It's kind of weird, in a way, I think. Because if kids have a whole bunch of papers, are they supposed to just carry all their folders? And like, not have it secure?" she says.

"You're asking kids to carry around, literally, you know, 20, 30 pounds of stuff with them and just try to keep it in their hands," Kellie Kraus says.

Kraus is a parent of a City High Middle School student. She has many unanswered questions about this new policy.

"If this was going to be their course of action, banning backpacks, you know, that's fine. But there should have been something in there saying... 'While we're gonna take away backpacks, we are gonna let your kids use clear backpacks or use a grocery bag or something, until we can figure out a more permanent solution,'" Kraus says.

The school district has a community forum on school safety coming up on Saturday, May 20. The event starts at 1 p.m. at GRPS University, located at 1400 Fuller Avenue NE in Grand Rapids.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected], visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this.