"Please allow my daughter to carry her backpack during the school day. She needs it because she has to carry a lot of books."
That's the note I wrote for my kid to bring to school this morning. I wrote it because she was told by her home room teacher yesterday that she can't carry her backpack around her middle school unless she has a note from home. Carrying a backpack violates a rule. My daughter wasn't sure why the rule exists, but she figured it has something to do with drugs or weapons. After all, she explained, they're not allowed to have water bottles because some kid once brought vodka to school in a water bottle.
Here's what school should be: A place where kids feel safe and respected.
Here's what school shouldn't be: A place where kids feel that adults assume the worst of them and where they are unfairly punished for the infractions of others.
The intention behind such rules is no doubt good, but it's like burning down your house to deal with termites.