Duggan students finally get their lockers

The I-Team weighed backpacks to see how heavy they are for the students

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 22News I-Team helped create change Tuesday.

Five weeks after school started, Duggan Middle Schoolers still didn’t have their lockers and kids were carrying around heavy backpacks. 22News went to the school Tuesday morning and just hours later learned they finally got their lockers.

It’s no surprise Duggan Middle Schooler Faith Gaud is complaining about back pain when her sack of school supplies is almost as big as she is. She says it’s the only bag that can fit everything she needs.

Problem is she’s had to lug it around all day. “There’s a lot of stairs and we still don’t have our lockers so we’re constantly walking around with these big heavy backpacks and it’s just a big struggle,” Gaud told us Tuesday morning.

Duggan Middle School students have been back in class for five weeks now and as of Tuesday morning still didn’t have assigned lockers. That’s when the 22News I-Team conducted an investigation to expose just how heavy their backpacks were getting.

We weighed Faith’s bag and found it’s 12.5 pounds. Twenty percent of her body weight. This student’s lugging 15 pounds of supplies, and if you look around,  bulging backpacks are everywhere.

Our scale only tells us part of the story, doctors at Baystate say there could be long-term effects to worry about if this continues. “If you do this day after day, month after month, you could start having issues with deformity, irritated nerves, muscle strain, things that can really effect a child’s overall health,” said Baystate Medical Center’s Dr. Dennis Oh.

Parents couldn’t get definite answers. “She said that it could take about 2 weeks, they’re not sure. So, that was frustrating,” said Jamie Pelkey, whose daughter attends Duggan.

The I-Team also called the Springfield school department on her behalf. Finally, hours later, we found out from Jamie that students finally got their lockers. From now on, the only heavy lifting happens traveling to and from school.

There are things all kids can do to better distribute the weight on their backs. Click Here for more information.

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