Mohip looks to ‘climate of trust’ for students

By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip is creating “a climate of trust” in the upcoming 2017-18 school year.

He’s implementing a new policy doing away with the requirements for students to carry see-through backpacks. The see-through bag requirement started several years ago as a safety measure.

Mohip said the policy is a way to build trust between students and school personnel.

“See-through backpacks don’t create a climate of trust,” he said. “School should be a place where students feel nurtured, safe and respected. It’s hard to see how see-through backpacks fit in to that environment.”

Mohip explained that the see-through bags don’t mean the district is sacrificing security.

“Safety is obviously of paramount importance,” he said. “We aren’t forgetting that. But students have to be supported, too.”

East High Principal Sonya Gordon mirrored Mohip’s sentiment.

“We will keep our building’s safe, you don’t have to worry about that,” she said. “But our kids should worry about being kids in schools. ... A couple places you would expect to see... clear backpacks are airports and prisons. We are neither.”

Other Mahoning Valley school districts don’t require see-through backpacks.

Districts including Warren, Campbell and Austintown, for example, don’t mandate see-through bags.

However, Campbell and Austintown students are required to store the backpacks in their lockers during the school day.

Each student on the first day of school will receive a backpack, embossed with the new school district logo and filled with school supplies. The bags are made of durable material intended to last through the school year.

Gordon hopes to change the culture to the schools in cutting down safety measures such as the see-through backpack rule.

“What we need to be doing is finding creative ways to help students make good choices,” Gordon said.

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