Frank LoMonte Comments on School Backpack Safety and Privacy
Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was quoted in “Clear Backpacks Another Target in the Widening War on Kids,” published in the Sun-Sentinel on April 3.
The article focuses on a survey asking people to weigh in on whether clear backpacks at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would be an effective safety measure. Survey responses were mixed, citing both safety and privacy concerns.
“You don’t have zero privacy in school,” said LoMonte “As with many constitutional issues, the devil is going to be in the details and how it’s implemented and enforced.”
LoMonte states that schools can infringe upon students’ rights to ensure a safe school environment conducive to learning, but questions whether mandatory clear backpacks are an overreach on the part of school administration.
“If I were forbidden from having any privacy in my personal effects, that would probably be too far,” he said. “For example, if a student is sensitive about carrying birth control or HIV drugs, can they have some privacy in their personal effects? Certainly, a bottle of medication cannot be mistaken for an AK-47.”