Baldwin elementary students must get new backpacks after guns were brought to school

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The Baldwin County school district has updated its backpack policy for elementary students, following two incidents where guns were brought to school.

All students in kindergarten through fifth grade now must use clear or mesh backpacks, according to a statement from Superintendent Noris Price. The new policy became effective Monday, but students will have until Nov. 27 to get bags that fit the requirements.

A gun inside the backpack of a third-grader at Lakeview Academy discharged inside a classroom Nov. 10. On Oct. 25, a pistol was found inside the backpack of a fifth-grader at Midway Hills Academy. The weapon was not loaded, and the student did not have ammunition.

No one was hurt in either incident, and both students are facing charges.

Regular backpacks can be carried the rest of this week, but those bags are being searched by staff each morning, Price said. The clear backpack policy is already in place at the district’s middle and high schools.

“We are asking parents to check their children’s backpacks each morning to make sure only school supplies and books are transported to school,” Price said in the statement. “This (new policy) will enhance our security measures that are already in place and help ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

Price said district officials will meet with law enforcement agencies this week determine what other security measures may be needed.

Andrea Honaker: 478-744-4382, @TelegraphAndrea