Manatee County schools ban backpacks on Friday

- School officials in Manatee County are prohibiting backpacks on middle and high school campuses on Friday.

In a robocall sent to parents of middle and high school students Thursday evening, they said it is “due to the high number of school lockdowns and the excessive number of school threats.” School officials haven’t said if the ban will extend past Friday.

“We know this might cause an inconvenience to some, but all of the extra stress surrounding our schools this week has had a taxing toll on school administrators and staff, as well as local law enforcement officials,” the message from the school district stated.

The move arrives after at least two students were arrested this week for making threats against a school. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office shared a video showing school resource deputies reminding students that making threats is “no joke.”

The school district is also trying to stop a viral prank of a social media post claiming Manatee County schools will be closed through Wednesday.

“Regardless of the warnings associated with the post, we are starting to get calls asking if our schools will be closed,” officials wrote on the school district’s Facebook page. “In reality, our schools are open as usual on Feb. 23, 26, 27 and 28.”

The district said students will be able to carry backpacks, as normal, to school Monday, February 26.

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