Limited locker access a concern for local students, parents

School Lockers
School Lockers(KFYR)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Backpacks are causing headaches for parents and racking up chiropractor bills for some students as access to lockers remains restricted at schools in the metro due to COVID-19.

In an effort to minimize students congregating, and in turn potentially spreading the coronavirus, many school districts including Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead Public Schools have limited when students can use their lockers.

“He needs to bring his stuff for class with him during the day. So what does he really take out? His coat?” Char King, a mother of both a Fargo and West Fargo student said.

The health precaution has now raised safety concerns.

“Now whenever (the backpack) shifts, like today, the stuff shifted and he was at the top of the stairs and it about knocked him down the stairs!” King said.

Casidy Heilman wasn’t able to speak on camera today, but in a statement to our reporter, Heilman says her child has been to ‘the chiropractor several times’ due to ‘the obscene amount of weight’ carried in her backpack. Heilman’s experience is one that was echoed by other parents, too.

Heilman’s full statement to Valley News Live:

In a world, where our sole duty as parents, along with the public school system is to protect a child’s health and welfare,

the overweight backpacks that are being hauled around all day long is an absolute disgrace.

I am disgusted with this concept and I guarantee there will be future problems that arise from these circumstances.

The pandemic has brought a lot of changes and the children are adhering to these changes, but with consequences.

My child has been to the chiropractor several times for pains in the back and neck from lugging around an obscene amount of weight of books and supplies, including a computer.

She is afraid to take something out, in fear, she will need that item the minute she removes it.

I cannot fathom why a plan has not been developed to systematically let these kids in their lockers on rotation or in a way to still be safe.

Ensuring what is best for these children has not been the main focus for the school system and I am highly disappointed in our public school system.

Absolutely, appalled. It is critical this is addressed immediately.

One parent wrote: ‘I weighed our 6th graders and it’s 23 lbs!!!! He complains of back pain every day. Is FPS going to cover chiropractor appointments because these kids are being forced to carry every book??’

Another wrote: ‘Both my kids are in Jr. High and will probably have back problems in the future due to lugging those backpacks around every day.’

When asked how much King thinks her sixth grade son’s backpack weighs, King guessed around 20 pounds.

“And my son probably weighs like 70. It takes both of us to lift it for him to get out of the car,” she said.

Most schools only allow students to stop at their lockers at the beginning and end of the day. While many parents say they understand the policy likely won’t go away with only a month and a half left of class, they’re hoping for compromise

Some parents have suggested schools add one more time in the day, like during lunch, for students to pick up and drop off books and supplies.

“I mean, even that would help so he doesn’t have to carry everything with him all day,” King said.

King adds with most teachers vaccinated and local COVID-19 case counts relatively low, now is the time to lighten the load for students.

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