Banned Purses Update

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

Earlier this week, the banned bag policy at a Rockingham County middle school raised an uproar. Thursday night, there seems to be a resolution to the issue.

A parent was asking the school to look through the eyes of a child and not an adult when it came to carrying a purse around school to conceal certain items, such as feminine products. The principal, Mary Shifflett, sent home a letter to all parents to inform them of the school policy when it comes to bringing bags to school.

When Jennifer Alcombright's daughter got in trouble for carrying a purse in school, Shifflett reiterated the school's policy on banning bags at Wilbur Pence Middle School.

"So the purpose for not having those bags and the purses and totes in the classroom were really threefold. One, they were a distraction. Two, it was a matter of safety because children couldn't maneuver in the classroom, neither could teachers safely. And the third thing is they're too heavy," says Shifflett.

But Alcombright, a concerned mother, wanted one specific detail of the policy to be changed.

She says, "It was just that one little underlying issue with the medical need that would have been taken away had the smaller handbags been taken away, and that was the only thing concerning me."

Alcombright says she was just speaking up for the students at Wilbur Pence. Thursday afternoon, the school handed out letters to parents to reemphasize the current school policy about bags as well as clarifying the rules on carrying medical needs products, such as feminine products.

In the letter sent to parents, Shifflett says, "Items of medical necessity have always been allowed to be carried by a student on their person or in a small bag, and we will continue to allow this practice."

"Now that this privilege has been given back to the girls, not just the girls but the whole student population, but specifically the girls, it's on them now how they use it or abuse it," says Alcombright.

The principal didn't give out any specific details on the sizes of the bags that will be allowed. Instead she says she will just play it by ear.

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