JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The new school year for one high school in Eastern North Carolina is going to look a little different. 

Jacksonville High School sent home a letter to parents letting them know about the new security protocols in place for the upcoming year. Students that go to school will have to say goodbye to cell phones and hello to clear backpacks. While some parents are OK with this, others aren’t on board. 

“When I saw the letter at first, I was a little taken aback, you know, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, there’s going to be just so many changes,’” said Heidi Turner. 

Turner’s daughter is about to go into her sophomore year at Jacksonville High School. She said the more she thought about these new security measures, the more she began to think they were a good idea.  

“I think that their goal here is to keep our children safe and healthy. And I think it’s a great idea. We went to high school and had kind of the same rules and it worked out OK,” said Turner.  

So, what exactly are the new rules? Students will have to turn off their cell phones once the instructional day begins and they won’t be able to use them again until the end of the day. 

“Students have their computers in their laptops, so emails can be sent to the students during the day, if parents need to get them information or they need to have some communication with their kids,” said Chief Communications Officer for OCS, Brent Anderson. 

Students are also no longer allowed to carry cloth or mesh book bags, only clear ones. The school system explains every school has a team assigned to make these types of decisions. 

“There were some incidents that had happened last year with kids bringing things on campus they shouldn’t have had. There were some weapon issues that they had. They wanted to address that in the backpack policy as a way to make that happen,” said Anderson.  

Some parents are still voicing their concerns. Holly Wood Connor commented on the school’s Facebook post about the letter with some of hers. 

“Do they have enough lockers for all the students? My biggest concern is literally none of the students on the campus have any experience with utilizing a locker between classes. Most students have been taught that they have to carry literally everything with them all day long. I hope with this change, some consideration that new habits and expectations will take time to change over [too]. In the past, you automatically got ISS for the class you were late to. When they state they have adjusted the school bell schedule… I hope they take into consideration where students’ lockers are and just how vast that campus is. I do understand that steps to ensure safety [are] the goal, but this is a drastic change with literally no transition for students to get used to it. Teachers might also want to consider their supply list for their students as well. Requiring 3-ring binders and all the supplies that each teacher requires might need to be considered as well. Don’t get me wrong it’s doable……we old people had lockers at school. But we also had them from 6th grade on and got a lot of practice in using them! I would hate to see students who have had no issues in their high school career end up with disciplinary actions because they now have to change the way they have transitioned in school and have such a drastic change!”   

-Holly Wood Connor, Onslow County Parent via Facebook