In an effort to prioritize student and staff safety, the Cheatham County School District has introduced a new backpack policy that will be enforced during the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.
The new policy mandates that all middle and high school students store their backpacks, lunch boxes, and sports bags in their lockers each morning, and these items will no longer be allowed to be carried from room to room throughout the day.
To facilitate this policy, students will be required to rent a lock for their lockers for $5. An exception has been granted for those students who qualify for free and reduced meals. The schools have assured that they will work closely with students to ensure that each one has a suitable locker plan.
By implementing this additional safety measure, the district aims to create a more secure learning environment for everyone involved.
"We believe that the safety of our students and staff should always be our top priority," the school district's press release states. "This new backpack policy will enable us to enhance safety protocols within our schools, and we appreciate the support of our community as we implement this change."
This policy comes after Nashville’s Covenant School – a private Christian elementary school in the Green Hills neighborhood – fell victim to a mass shooting on March 27 of this year. A former student of the school broke in and killed three nine‑year‑old children and three adults before being shot and killed by two Metropolitan Nashville Police Department officers.
In addition to the backpack policy, the Cheatham County Commission has approved funding for two additional School Resource Officer (SRO) positions, which will be effective in the 2023-2024 school year.
This decision ensures that every school in the district will have sufficient coverage and law enforcement presence on a daily basis, the district said.
"We are grateful for the support of the Cheatham County Commission in recognizing the importance of having School Resource Officers in our schools,"the school district's press release states. "This allocation of resources will further bolster our commitment to maintaining a secure environment where students can thrive academically and personally."