BELLEFONTE — Grant Stone and his classmates asked the Bellefonte Area School Board to listen and on Tuesday its members did.
The board voted narrowly Tuesday night to drop proposed rule changes that called for students to leave their backpacks in lockers during the school day.
The vote came after the board heard objections from Stone, a high school junior and president of his class, and other students and parents.
More than two dozen crowded into the high school library and asked the board to allow students to keep their backpacks.
High school principal Jennifer Brown recommended the changes, which she said would help officials cut down on incidents of drug and weapon possession and thefts among high school students.
About 250 of the schools more than 900 students disagreed, circulating and signing a petition to prevent the move.
On Tuesday, some school directors took notice.
We didnt treat you like the grown ups you are, board member Hope Boylston said. You reacted as you should have you had no voice.
Earlier in the meeting, Stone and several classmates spoke up. Stone called the changes unnecessary, flawed and unproductive.
He said it would punish the 99 percent of students who follow the rules, without cutting down on drug use or other crimes.
One parent said students who want to bring those things into the school will find other ways to do so.
A student said she is expected to become a responsible adult, but is not given the responsibility of choice or a voice in the discussions.
Before the vote, several board members, including Boylston, expressed desire to table the plan, and involve students in further discussions.
Ultimately, the directors voted 5-3 to approve the proposed high school handbook without the procedural backpack changes.
Board members Jeff Steiner, George Stone, Keith Hamilton, Robert Lumley-Sapanski, and Boylston approved the handbook without the backpack wording. Richard Steele, Jenna Moorehead and board president Becky Rock opposed.
Rock said the students did an awesome job presenting their case, but also expressed concerns about safety and the health of students who lug around heavy backpacks all day.
She also praised the work of Brown and other school officials who worked on the proposed changes.
Its an inconvenience for some, but it will serve the greater good, Brown said during the meeting. Some say its punishing kids who dont do wrong. I say its about protecting everyone.
Lumley-Sapanski asked that district administrators, along with student representatives, discuss the matter further in the coming months.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan