Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weight Up

Students without lockers in their schools are a problem:
...Marissa, 15, a sophomore at River Ridge High School, also faces a heavy day. The school was designed with no lockers, and students have to carry their belongings all day.

"I have textbooks for all of my classes, pretty much. I have an AP [Advanced Placement] class, and that's a heavy-duty textbook. I have math, and we have to carry around a huge binder for that," she said.

"It's almost like you're being punished for having a big academic load," [her mother] Debbie Macy said.

The Macy family recently asked the North Thurston School District to consider what can be done for students weighed down by textbooks.

Heavy backpacks have been a large-enough issue that other states have tried to lighten the load.

In July, California's law regarding the maximum weights of textbooks went into effect. Books should be no heavier than 5 pounds in high school, 4 pounds in middle school and 3 pounds in elementary school, according to that state's Department of Education.

....Kent School District spokeswoman Becky Hanks said some of the schools in her district offer classroom sets of textbooks so students don't have to haul heavy books back and forth.

The North Thurston district reviewed the Macys' request. District spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve said the middle schools have enough books to allow teachers to keep a set in the classroom and students to keep a set at home.

Having a school set and a home set of books has been the practice at the middle schools for several years, since the schools stopped using their lockers for safety reasons and because they cut into instructional time, Schrieve said.

"Students spent a lot of time getting books out of their lockers or just hanging out at their lockers," she said. North Thurston middle-school students in sports have lockers available to them, and the district offers instrument rental, so band members don't have to lug their equipment to and from school.

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