Backpack ban caused concern at SABIS International Charter School

Students allowed to bring bags to school, but they can't have them in class

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new backpack ban is causing controversy at SABIS International Charter School in Springfield.

22News started asking questions after a parent called us, concerned that the school has banned backpacks for middle school students because they were sneaking food into class. This parent also said students weren’t being given enough time to eat breakfast at school before classes begin, which is why they were sneaking food in their backpacks.

22News went to SABIS International Charter School for answers.

Principal Khalid Shehemi said the new backpack rule went into effect Monday morning. Under that rule, students can still bring backpacks to school, they just can’t have them in class.

Shehemi told 22News that while students were sneaking food into class, this is not why they made the rule. He said there are around 30 students in every class, and teachers were worried that 30+ backpacks on the ground could prevent them from getting to students, and could be dangerous in certain situations, like a fire. He also said that students have never been allowed to eat in class, due to distractions and food allergies.

As for the length of time given to eat breakfast in the morning, Shehemi said the cafeteria opens at 6:45 AM, giving students more than 20 minutes to get their free breakfast before going to class.

He also said parents should receive a robocall about the new rule by Wednesday night.