Student Well-Being

State Journal

June 13, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Back Talk

The California Assembly wants to commission a study on the health effects on students of carrying overstuffed backpacks, a topic that is attracting growing attention among researchers.

Rod Pacheco

Members of the Assembly, the legislature’s lower house, voted 59-1 last month to appropriate $100,000 for a three-year study of the issue to be conducted by the state health department in conjunction with California’s superintendent of public instruction.

“A lot of kids are carrying these things, and their little spines are bent over,” said Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, a Republican who sponsored the bill. The Senate has not yet taken up the measure.

The issue has gained national attention recently, with the American Physical Therapy Association releasing a report last winter. Researchers examining the problem in Massachusetts found that half of young children there carried backpacks heavier than 15 percent of their body weight, the maximum recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (“Lugging Heavy Backpacks Hurts Children, Study Says,” Feb. 21, 2001.)

The California legislation would require researchers to examine the weight of hardcover textbooks, the lack of locker space in schools, and any relevant research linking heavy backpacks to spinal damage, according to Mr. Pacheco. The report would have to be completed by January 2003.

Mr. Pacheco said he first noticed the problem at home, when his two daughters, ages 8 and 6, began struggling to lift their own backpacks. As a board member of a nonprofit organization that deals with spinal injuries, he became concerned that toting the heavy loads on a regular basis would have lasting adverse effects.

Children have begun to rely more heavily on backpacks, he said, in part because some schools have banned the use of lockers for fear students may hide guns or drugs in them.

—Julie Blair

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2001 edition of Education Week

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Fewer Teens Appear to Be Vaping. How Schools Can Keep the Momentum
A handful of studies suggest that adolescent e-cigarette use dropped substantially during the pandemic.
7 min read
Image of E-cigarettes for vaping. Popular vape devices
Nijat Nasibli/iStock
Student Well-Being Quiz How Much Do You Know About the Needs of the Whole Child?
Answer 7 questions to see how much you know about the needs of the whole child.
Student Well-Being Flu Vaccinations Among Children Are Down. That Could Spell Trouble for Schools
The convergence of flu and COVID-19 infections could exacerbate student absences and staff shortages.
2 min read
An employee with the Hidalgo County Health Department holds out a roll of flu vaccine stickers that are used to verify who has been temperature screened Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2020, at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic on the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds in Mercedes, TX.
An employee with the Hidalgo County Health Department holds out a roll of flu vaccine stickers that are used to verify who has been temperature screened at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Mercedes, Texas
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald/AP
Student Well-Being Opinion The Case for Virtual Social and Emotional Learning
Can student social and emotional well-being be supported online? Rick Hess speaks with the founder of EmpowerU, which seeks to do just that.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty