Poughkeepsie school district cancels backpack ban before it starts

Poughkeepsie Middle School. MHNN file photo.

POUGHKEEPSIE – With only 22 days of instruction remaining at Poughkeepsie Middle School and 15 days of instruction left at Poughkeepsie High School, district administrators have reversed their ban on backpacks that was set to go into effect on Tuesday.

“We earnestly believe that we can protect the safety and security of students and staff without banning back packs, provided we all work together,” Acting Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elizabeth Ten Dyke wrote in a Saturday, May 25 letter to families and community members.

The ban had been imposed following a number of incidents of violence in the schools including a high school student bringing a gun to school in a backpack, student violence against staff members and a stabbing of one student by another near the school.

Ten Dyke said students, staff and parents have an import role in promoting school safety by following procedures and reporting concerns to administrators. She urged parents and guardians to take a number of measures:

  • Ensure that your child is following the district code of conduct. Backpacks/book bags must be placed in the locker upon entry. Students should use designated times to obtain materials or supplies as outlined. Designated times will be announced over the public address system.
  • Speak to your children about the importance of school safety. Tell that that “If they see something, say something.”
  • Talk to your child about the difference between reporting, tattling, and gossiping. The child can provide important information, either directly or anonymously, that may prevent harm by telling a trusted adult about a situation before it happens.
  • The school will continue to check your child’s book bag but with greater thoroughness. Parents should check their child’s book bag before and after school.
  • If a parent is not already involved, they should become a member of, and involved in, the Parent Teacher Association.

“Open communication between home and school is critical to the safety and well-being of our students,” Dr. Ten Dyke wrote. “Let us know if you have a concern or questions about school policies, or your child’s safety. If you, your child or any member of our community become aware of a safety concern, please be sure to share information with a district employee, or by sending an email to community@poughkeepsieschools.org.

Popular Stories