Gun Fears See School Ban Backpacks, Forcing Students to Improvise With Random Items

A school has banned backpacks following an incident with a gun, forcing pupils to improvise with a range of random items, students have claimed.

A TikTok is circulating online from @miriam_gilmore_, as she filmed the hallways and the canteen at her school, with the footage amassing more than 6 million views, and can be seen here.

"My school banned backpacks yesterday so this happened," she captioned the footage, shared on Friday. The video, captioned "can we have our bags back yet?" shows students carrying their books and belongings in interesting ways.

"Laundry basket" the on-screen text reads, continuing: "Is that a shopping cart?" One student was seen with a wagon, while another was using a basket on wheels.

Gilmore followed it up with another clip on Monday, seen nearly 2 million times, as she wrote: "This is getting ridiculous."

She films pupils using a baby carrier, a stroller, a surfboard and a rope, a cooler on wheels, a two-tiered shopping cart, a traffic cone, a cardboard box and numerous people had children's toys, which can be seen here.

In the comments, she explained why the drastic move had been taken, saying: "Some kid brought a gun to school on Thursday and it hasn't even been 4 months since our last school shooting."

And responding to why lockers weren't utilized, she wrote: "Well our school's capacity level is almost double what it's made for and there aren't enough lockers for everyone."

Commenting on the clip, Emma wrote: "The U.S. be banning backpacks but not guns."

Valerier thought: "Your school is a supermarket wow."

Mia Clifford commented: "What about either banning guns or at least give all the students clear backpack. Idk. This is ridiculous."

"I don't think backpacks are the problem," Lucky thought.

While unconfirmed, it's believed the school is the Rigby Middle School in Idaho. On Thursday at around 9 a.m., a 13-year-old girl who was "struggling emotionally" was found in the restroom with a firearm. She was disarmed by a teacher and the school was placed on lockdown.

A statement shared on the Jefferson School District 251 Facebook page, from Superintendent Chad Martin, said: "Effective immediately, backpacks will no longer be allowed at Rigby Middle School, Farnsworth Middle School, and both Rigby and Jefferson High Schools.

"We ask that you partner with us in keeping all of our students safe. Please keep your firearms safe and inaccessible to students. If you notice changes in your student's behavior, attire, or personality notify us so we can help your student."

The move was slammed by a woman, thought to be a parent of a student at the school. Megan Humble took to Facebook on Friday to share a "warning" to others moms and dads.

She said: "...Removing backpacks is not a solution. It's a knee jerk reaction. It's like slapping a bandaid in a severed artery and hoping it stops the bleeding. How does removing backpacks solve this? You're telling me these kids can't walk in with a gun on their person? You're telling me that oversized everything in style that a kid couldn't walk in with a weapon just because they don't have a backpack? Give me a break..."

Kimberly Funk, also thought to be a mom of a pupil, responded to the schools' post, saying: "Banning backpacks isn't the answer. Anyone can hide a gun on them. If this little girl was in the bathroom crying it sounds like another bullying case. That's where you need to start there's a reason to why she had a gun and who she planned on using it on."

Ninette Elizabeth Younker Bell commented: "NO. I will not partner with you in not allowing my student to carry a back pack to school. There is no need to punish the many good students that need their books and utensils to be adequately prepared for classes for the actions of two students with mental health needs. It is just that simple."

Amber Moody said: "No backpacks!? So no homework!? No clean clothes after morning sports!? How about clear backpacks!? There are still good kids that need a bag."

While Jarod Phillips added: "A no backpack policy will not work! There aren't enough lockers for every student, nor is there sufficient time between classes to allow students to use a locker to drop and retrieve books between classes. I just don't see how this will work."

The September event is the second gun-related incident to take place at the school in four months, backing up Gilmore's timeline. On May 6, two students and one adult suffered non-life threatening injuries after a pupil opened fire.

A sixth grade girl pulled a gun from her backpack and fired multiple rounds inside and outside the school, The Associated Press stated. She was eventually disarmed by a teacher.

shooting will have an enduring impact on the community of Rigby and cause ripple effects in communities and on school campuses throughout Idaho.#RigbyMiddleSchool

— ID.School.Safety (@id_safety) May 6, 2021

The day after the shooting, Martin shared another statement to Facebook, saying: "The events that took place yesterday are something that every educator and parent fears and hopes never to experience. However, tragedy seems to bring out the good in many and that is definitely the case with our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

In response to the May shooting, the Idaho Board of Education released a report with various recommendations for safety on Monday.

The 11-page report shared 29 recommendations on varying topics, including mental health support, emergency and mass communications, implementing social media threat detection, training for staff, and practicing lockdown drills.

Newsweek reached out to Gilmore and Chad Martin for comment.

File photo of gun in a bag.
File photo of a gun in a bag. Students have been sharing the odd items they've been using to transport books, after claiming backpacks were banned over gun fears. goir/Getty Images