Many of you surely remember slinging a backpack full of books over your shoulder while rushing out the door on your way to school. But for students at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts, this time-honored morning tradition will be no more.
Administrators at the Catholic school have banned backpacks due to looming security threats at the school.
The ban is set to take effect today. The school sent out letters to parents last week explaining the reasons for the changes. Twice, an unknown student has scribbled threatening messages on the walls of a school bathroom. The second threat was more specific in nature than the first, and even pinned this upcoming Friday morning as a day when damage would be carried out.
As a precaution, Danvers Police will have an increased presence at the school in the coming days and weeks. Students will only be granted “limited and monitored access to bathroom facilities," and backpacks will not be allowed to be worn. Instead, students must store any belongings they wish to bring to school in clear plastic bags.
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“It is the unsettling reality of our times that we find ourselves faced with this situation at St. John’s,” Headmaster Edward Hardiman wrote in a letter to parents. “We believe, however, that these measures, while they may seem inconvenient, will help ensure the safest possible environment for our students, faculty and staff.”
Danvers Police are currently investigating the threats.