IONIA, Mich. (WLNS) – In the wake of Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida, school officials here in Mid-Michigan are taking action to step up their procedures to make sure students are safe.
Starting February 26th, Ionia Middle School is kick-starting a new “no bag” policy for its students.
That means all bags, including purses, must be kept inside a students’ locker until the end of the school day.
Why did the middle school decide to initiate this policy? The principal says it’s another way to keep his students safe.
“It started the conversation between Mr. Matice my assistant principal and I of all the procedures we have in place and all of the things that we’ve done in the last 5 and 10 years at Ionia Public Schools to make this place safer,” said Wayne Piercefield III.; Principal of Ionia Middle School.
Although Piercefield says the school has many safety procedures in place, the new “no bag” policy takes it one step further.
He says the idea had already been a topic of conversation among his staff but Wednesday’s school tragedy in Florida forced him to speed up the process.
“It’s going to be a change for our students, it’s going to be an adjustment for our students , it’s going to be an adjustment for our staff but change is a good thing and we’re doing it for the right reasons,” Piercefield stated.
Parents of students at Ionia Middle School took to social media to voice their concerns with many in support of the policy saying things like “thank you for being proactive with our children and our schools” and “I think it’s a great step in the right direction.”
Others oppose it saying “keeping bags in lockers isn’t going to solve anything” but Piercefield disagrees.
He says the idea behind the “no bag” policy is to protect his students.
“There’s definitely going to be some adjustment period as they figure out ‘ok for first and second hour I got to have all my books for first and second hour and then I got to go to my locker before I go to third hour because it’s closer to my locker’ but our kids are resilient, they’ll figure it out,” said Piercefield.
Piercefield says the superintendent of Ionia Public Schools gave him the green light to pursue the policy.
In fact, the superintendent released a letter to every family in the school district on Thursday highlighting all safety protocols.
He even provided links to resources on how parents can talk to their children about school shootings or coping with trauma.