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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools halts clear backpack distribution due to warning tag issue

In an abundance of caution, CMS will not proceed with clear backpack distribution until this matter is resolved.
Officials discovered most backpacks contained a warning tag required by Proposition 65 for California residents.
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is halting the distribution of its clear backpacks due to a warning tag issue.

In an email to parents, CMS officials said in unloading clear backpacks for distribution at the two pilot schools, officials discovered most backpacks contained a warning tag required by Proposition 65 for California residents.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

CMS was scheduled to pilot the clear backpacks at iMeck Academy Tuesday but the district says they immediately paused the rollout of this safety measure when it was revealed the majority of the inventory had the tag.

In an abundance of caution, CMS will not proceed with clear backpack distribution until this matter is resolved.

“I think it’s a good idea to pause it, it’s good for us for our health, it’s good right now,” said freshman Carolina Dominguez.

Related: ‘It’s a change for better:’ CMS students at Cochrane Collegiate Academy receiving clear backpacks next Tuesday

School officials say they are contacting the manufacturer and proceeding with reclaiming any backpacks that were provided to students in advance of school distribution.

CMS spent nearly $442,000 for about 46,000 clear backpacks. Superintendent Earnest Winston says the backpacks will be given only to high school students.

In an abundance of caution, CMS will not proceed with clear backpack distribution until this matter is resolved.

WBTV contacted both manufacturers, Ad Sutton and Eastsport. CMS purchased 40,000 bags from Ad Sutton and 6,000 from Eastsport.

A representative from Eastsport responded by saying " The Eastsport backpack mentioned does not have, and does not need to have, a Prop 65 tag on it. You may be better served reaching out to the other supplier.”

Ad Sutton has not responded to our request at the time of this writing.

Cochrane Collegiate Academy freshman Carolina Dominguez said she was shocked to see the bags were paused and was looking forward to them.

“I think it’s a good idea because there’s a lot of weapons and everything and for us to be safe at school we need to have those book bags,” she said.

Other students told WBTV they didn’t want to carry the bags and weren’t sure it was going to deter students from bringing weapons.

“Maybe it could’ve helped but I don’t think it would’ve been that much help because people would’ve found way to bring weapons to school even with the clear backpacks,” said junior Carlos Anariva.

Related: CMS spent nearly $442K for about 46,000 clear backpacks as solution to prevent weapons in schools

CMS says they continue to make informed decisions for the safety and well-being of CMS students.

This week, CMS plans to complete the installation of and training for the security body scanners at all seven Phase I high schools.

  • Mallard Creek
  • North Mecklenburg
  • Garinger
  • Harding University
  • Hopewell
  • Julius Chambers
  • West Charlotte

Hopewell High School parents also shared a voicemail with WBTV earlier that the body scanners were installed at their school on Saturday.

Officials say these plans are focused on layers of actions and initiatives to protect students and staff, including the ongoing community safety conversations, hiring of additional campus security associates and the launch of the anonymous Say Something system.

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