HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — Hopewell City Public Schools is amping up security measures at its elementary schools in the hopes of increasing safety as gun violence continues to wrack schools across the nation.
The school system has decided to require all children at Dupont, Harry E. James and Patrick Copeland elementary schools use clear backpacks. Hopewell says it plans to provide clear, see-through backpacks to all students by late March to ensure nothing “inappropriate” is brought into the schools.
“In the weeks since the tragedy in Newport News, we have seen several instances in which our elementary students have verbally threatened to harm other students with a gun when they are frustrated and we also have had a few instances when a fake/toy gun has been brought to school,” Hopewell said on Facebook in the new policy announcement.
Hopewell said it has notified parents of each instance, and each has been fully investigated and no actual threat was found.
“Especially in our current times, these are situations that can concern,” Hopewell continued.
Hopewell wants to encourage families to talk with their children about gun safety, and impress upon them the seriousness of gun threats — whether the children mean them or not.
“It is imperative that even our youngest students know and understand that these types of threats will be taken very seriously and could result in their removal from school long-term,” Hopewell said.
Hopewell Schools did not give a timeline for how long the new policy would be in effect. The last day of the ’22-’23 school year is June 9.