Del Valle High School requires mesh or clear backpacks after BB gun incident; provides thousands of bags to students

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DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) — Del Valle High School students will now be required to use mesh or clear backpacks after a security scare last week.

DVISD announced that beginning Monday, Oct. 25, students will have to use clear or mesh backpacks on campuses for the rest of the year. DVISD said it is providing backpacks to students who need them.

A student who showed a BB gun in the cafeteria during lunch led to school officials keeping students on a hold last Wednesday, meaning everyone had to remain in classrooms or wherever they were on campus. No one was hurt and the BB gun was taken away from the student, but now the district is looking over its safety practices.

Though some described the implementation of the new policy chaotic, the district does have plans in place to make sure it’s more organized on Tuesday.

There were students who showed up Monday morning without clear backpacks. There was a long line of teens waiting outside, having to check those bags at the door before being able to enter the high school.

There’s no more privacy when it comes to personal items inside of backpacks anymore.

“It shouldn’t be normalized, but it is,” Del Valle High School student, Skyy Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff isn’t surprised it came to this, witnessing fights, and other incidents at school regularly, she told KXAN.

“It kind of takes a toll on your mental,” Ratcliff said.

This mental toll is impacting parents too.

“The issue is that this [implementing a clear bag policy] should have been done years back,” mom Edna Obregon said. “I don’t know how we got here.”

Del Valle ISD said on Monday just over 600 clear bags were given to students who needed them. Another 2,500 are expected to be delivered by the end of Tuesday.

“We’re going to have another message today to families reiterating that since we’ll have plenty of the free, clear bags for everyone, students should not bring a backpack at all tomorrow,” Dell Valle ISD Executive Director of Communications Christopher Weddle said.

Weddle said they are hosting a series of town halls for families to discuss the school’s safety plans. Meetings will be held Oct. 27 for ninth-grade families, Oct. 28 for 10th-grade families, Nov. 1 for 11th-grade families and Nov. 2 for 12th-grade families.

All meetings will be held at 6 p.m. in the Del Valle High School auditorium.

“To us, this is just a change that was able to be easily but fairly quickly made,” Weddle said.

The school is also looking into starting a parent advisory committee.

While the district is making immediate changes to make school more secure, it may take time for Ratcliff to truly start feeling safe in school again.

“You see what happened at Columbine, and Parkland,” Ratcliff said. “You never think it can happen to you, but it can.”

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