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This issue has been the subject of MUCH discussion.
For detailed information on the Back Packs, Read on... and on...
(extracted from the Lawley News - Issue No 6 - October 2007)

HISTORY OF BACK PACK

In 2007, concerns were raised regarding the weight of back packs being carried by students at Mount Lawley Senior High School.

The P&C (in consultation with the School Couincil, the Student Council and members of staff) looked long and hard at these issues. A multi-prong approach was adopted with the P&C sourcing the most appropriate back pack and the school buying class copies of heavy text books to reduce the carrying load. Students and parents can also help to ensure students are not carrying unnecessary weight (see below).

The Recommended Back Pack - Available from the Uniform Shop

This is a good, cost-effective investment in your child's spinal health. Guaranteed for 3 years, it should last throughout the student's time at MLSHS.

 

Features of a Good Back Pack

Research conducted by the Centre for Allied Health Research at the University of South Australia identified a link between heavily loaded back packs and postural change which may lead on to neck and back pain. The design of a back pack can play a significant part in lessening the stress on the back and needs to include the following features:

LOCKERS

The school acknowledges that the use of lockers is one possibility toward overcoming the issue of heavy backpacks but has concerns about the provision of lockers. Research has shown that banks of lockers encourage vandalism and tend to promote bullying and theft. Most students also spend longer carrying their backpack to and from school than they do carrying their backpack around school, and the provision of a locker does not overcome this issue. The school feels it is important to address the issue by decreasing the amount carried in the backpack and providing education as to the correct way to wear it. This approach will provide benefits to students for the full time they wear the backpack, not just the time they are at school.

What is the School Doing about Heavy Back Packs?

Mount Lawley Senior High School acknowledges the concerns of parents regarding this issue and both the administration and teaching staff are fully committed to working with the school board and P&C to resolve this issue. The school has committed significant resources to investigate possible strategies and develop appropriate school policies. The school has also:

How Parents and Students can Help

The following advice is offered to students and parents to minimise the contents of a student's backpack. Parents are asked to reinforce these expectations with their children.

Careful monitoring of the contents of backpacks is required to ensure that students do not carry unnecessary items.

In particular, students should make a habit of putting their completed work into separate files at home each week, as by the end of term the weight of accumulated paper can be quite significant.

At the same time each week students should clear any accumulated "junk" from their bag, as this can also add up to a surprising amount of weight to be carried. Minimising the contents of the backpack will ensure that when selected texts, one-off items and library books are added, that these do not result in an overly heavy backpack.

What Should be Packed into a Middle School Backpack?

Daily:

As Needed:

The Middle School structure and approach is designed to minimise the need to carry heavy bags as a hire system for text books is operated and there are shelves in each Community space where bags can be stored during the day.

What Should be packing into a Senior School Backpack?

Daily:

As Needed:

How to Wear a Backpack to Prevent Back/Neck Stress

It is essential that a backpack is worn correctly to obtain the full benefits - a great backpack will lose its effectiveness if it is not worn correctly.