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The New Backpack Policy: Safety First, Convenience Later

The amount of walking space available in the Dolan Center before Monday Assembly was remarkable.  Instead of a single file line that one would get pushed, shoved, and trampled in to get to the theatre doors, three to four students could walk side by side without any harm. The reason for this newfound body room is the new backpack policy in the Atrium and vestibules that began last Monday. The policy states that during morning meetings in the Dolan Center, freshmen are to bring their backpacks into the theatre, sophomores should place their backpacks on the shelves and the floor under the shelves outside of the choir room, and seniors should carry their backpacks into the Commons.  Before Meeting for Worship and Lunch, backpacks should be left either in the classroom the students are coming from or heading to.  Additionally, backpacks can be left in the lower social space and under the bridge.  Junior, Nick Chapman stated, “They [administration] outlined no [backpacks] in the Atrium and then forbid us from putting them anywhere besides classrooms.”  To compensate for the limited space, the maintenance staff placed benches temporarily under the colonnade outside of the Dolan Center for backpacks.

"No Bookbags Here"

To students in the Friends Academy community, this new backpack policy was enforced relatively quickly and randomly.  Senior, Reed Rosenbluth, stated, “I’m not quite sure where to put my backpack anymore when heading to lunch. I don’t like to leave my backpack outside, as it contains my laptop and the cold kills the battery.”  After speaking to Mrs. Schoman, it is apparent that the administration put much time and thought into this policy.  The main issue is the safety of every member in the community. There have been many near accidents where people have tripped over backpacks and nearly fallen down the stairs.  Javana Clark, a sophomore, said, “The policy is annoying, but it makes sense.”  In case of a fire drill, the Atrium needs to be clear so that people can enter the theatre quickly without hazard.  Friends Academy has a beautiful exterior campus, the inside should be just the same.  The only challenge with keeping the inside of the Dolan Center backpack free is that the backpacks are now cluttered outside, which detracts from the beauty of the campus.

FA’s beautiful campus… now cluttered with book bags outside on benches, the only “safe zones”.
Backpacks on benches.

Mrs. Schoman explained, “We all have a responsibility to make sure that we care for our “home”- FA is our home! And having these backpacks littered around the atrium is really just unsightly! This is not so different from your parents asking you “clean up after yourself” at home!”

The consequence for leaving a backpack in the Dolan Center Atrium is simple: unattended backpacks will be removed and placed in a “holding bin” until 3:20pm in the Book Store.  The Student Faculty Board has already met twice to discuss the new policy and any pieces that they feel should be revised.  The SFB is in the process of creating a more effective locker usage system, however, the question is whether students are truly inconvenienced by lockers or just too lazy to return to them in between classes.  How effective the new backpack policy ultimately turns out is yet to be seen, but for now definitely don’t leave bags in the Dolan Center.

Backpacks now lay stacked right outside the entrance to the Dolan Center. Students are having trouble finding out where else to put them.

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