Empty classroom school students desks

GRANGER, Wash. -- Granger High School has announced a permanent ban on students bringing backpacks and purses onto campus.

“Granger High School will no longer allow students to bring backpacks, purses, or other school bags that can be used to conceal weapons, drugs or alcohol,” the school announced Monday on its Facebook page.

“Because of the increased school violence in the Yakima Valley, Granger High School will be changing (its) policy on backpacks permanently,” the announcement states.

Students will also be locked out of the building until 7:30 a.m. when staff arrives at the school. Teachers and coaches who schedule morning practices or other activities will inform students on procedures to enter the building prior to 7:30 a.m., if needed.

The policy change follows last week’s discovery of a threat written on a bathroom wall at the school, which prompted an increase in security and police presence at district schools.

Details about the threat were not released and a suspect was not identified.

In announcing the policy change, the district acknowledged the inconvenience for families of students, “but our main concern is that school is a safe place for learning.”

Students who need to carry clothing for PE classes or sports activities are advised that they can still carry their apparel in mesh laundry bags, transparent grocery bags or similar items.

The school said students are only required to carry a three-ring binder with notebooks and writing supplies.

Starting Monday, students who bring backpacks or other prohibited bags to school will be subject to disciplinary measures and the school will send a letter home to parents or guardians of the students.