Morning Bag Checks: Beneficial or Overly-Invasive?


Dennis Racket

Journalism 2 student Lydia Dukes, a junior, examines the merits — and the demerits — associated with morning bag checks.

Football games under the Friday Night Lights, scoring the perfect date to “hoco,” cruising through the parking deck, and sailing through classes. We imagined it would be like High School Musical when we were younger. High school seemed like a dream, littered with first kisses, prom-posals, and happy endings. After middle school, we prepared to experience our last hoo-rah with a standardized education and enter the “real world.” The possibility of being subject to impromptu bag searches every morning hardly ever crossed our minds. So you can imagine my continuous disappointment as I’m greeted with the sterile grin of a metal detector every other morning.

At the beginning of the school year, the Atlanta Public Schools board of education approved a 2.6 million dollar investment into better quality body scanners which will be used schoolwide and at football stadiums such as the Henderson stadium, home to the Dub’s football team. In addition, APS superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring and districts across Georgia have adjusted safety protocols in schools in accordance with increasing concerns from parents regarding the safety of public schools. To address parental security concerns, North Atlanta took to bag checks at all main entrances of the school.

Of course, school will never be perfect, but the Dubs feel as though there should be a fair amount of privacy in school. For junior Jackson Young, the realities of his current high school experience rank closely to those of a convicted prisoner. Once regarded as the better of our youthful years, high school has become a maximum security prison. Beyond issues concerning the invasion of privacy, Young raises concerns about the efficiency of such security measures. “Everyone wants to be safe at school, but bag checks have been proven to hardly deter gun violence,” he says.

Other Dubs question the newer security protocols’ motives. North Atlanta is one of the larger metro Atlanta schools, harboring over 2,200 kids, which makes it much harder to “correctly” enforce bag checks given the time it takes to inspect every student’s bag. This is why North Atlanta took to randomized bag checks to reduce wasted time. Though a wise solution to potential violence, the measures are subject to corruption based on discrimination and profiling. Senior Reed Jorgensen expresses related grievances with the methods of conducting the bag checks. As previously stated, the bag checks are designed to be “random,” with administrators counting the number of kids permitted to pass without bag inspection and those required for inspection. “Even random bag checks are discriminatory because there is no correct way to enforce them,” Jorgensen says.

All in all, some form of protection should be enacted to ensure the safety of students. Though annoying, any security measure protects students from the threat of violence and harm. The measures also will limit the amount of prohibited activity on school grounds, such as vaping, an unfortunately shared hobby among today’s teens. Hopefully, students will grow to accept the new policies sooner than later.