Bye Bye Backpacks

By Ethan Micallef

It would appear that backpacks are not as needed in the classrooms as we thought, and that there is in fact an alternative solution that allows an even easier classroom luxury.

The St. Thomas Aquinas year of 2015 – 2016 came with a new set of faculty as well as rules, many of which left the students none too pleased with them. As of May 2016, they have learned to make peace with them, more or less. But the one rule that seems to be broken time and time again through the sheer sense of betrayal is the rule stating that backpacks are no longer allowed in the classrooms.

As stated at the beginning of the year, St. Thomas Aquinas was actually one of the last schools throughout the HCDSB to conform to this rule, as the bags littered throughout classrooms can be a serious health and safety issue. Fire alarms, lockdowns, and even just classroom movement can be impeded by the obstructing bags. However, that didn’t stop the distraught students, who were now forced to carry their piles of books to class, from missing this privilege. However, the days of bag smuggling and arm straining may finally be over.

One of the exceptions to the no-bags rule was the allowed use of laptop bags. This has been taken advantage of as expected, yet many laptop bags don’t quite make up for the use that was lost with the backpacks. Laptop bags are, of course, designed for laptops and essentials for laptops. And while rate of laptops within the class have not-so-surprisingly increased since, there has still been much to miss from the good old days, until now.

Grade 12 student Veronica Mendez has solved any last worries or concerns about the lack of backpacks in the classroom by instead using a satchel.

“It makes me feel more secure,” Veronica stated, “just because we aren’t allowed to bring our backpacks to class, so having my satchel around is something that keeps my essentials with me at all times.”

As far as satchels go, Veronica’s is one of the smaller sizes, and yet it contains a surprising amount of content for the space provided. “It keeps my wallet, my phone, my medication… Things I might need that I would otherwise keep in my backpack.” The handy bag used by Ms. Mendez may not be enough to carry large items, although there are satchels which come in many shapes and sizes that can be more than enough to hold one’s textbooks and binders. When asked how she would fare without her trusty satchel, she responded that she would be in very deep trouble.

She agreed when asked if she would recommend other students have a satchel of their own. “I don’t think we have enough students wearing satchels,” she responded, believing that there may be a slight stigma around people owning such an accessory. In hope that people realise the potential behind such a bag, she hopes that there is more representation surrounding the subject of wearing them, “just so that everyone knows it’s okay”.