Student Well-Being

State Journal

June 13, 2001 1 min read

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

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

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

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
Student Well-Being Sponsor
Breathe Easier About In-Person Learning
Blueair’s Guide To Using Relief Funding For Cleaner Air 
Content provided by Blueair
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Abuse Cases Got More Severe During COVID-19. Could Teachers Have Prevented It?
A study finds that the severity of identified child abuse cases grew during the pandemic, even as reports of abuse declined.
3 min read
Image of a sad girl in the shadows
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being The Pandemic Brought Universal Free School Meals. Will They Stay?
Relaxed rules during the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed schools to serve universal free meals. Some in Congress want to make that permanent.
8 min read
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County School District on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss.
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County school district on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss., in March.
Leah Willingham/AP
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Getting Face Time With Students May Be More Important Than You Think
There's a good reason for teachers and students to keep their cameras on in class, a new neuroscience study suggests.
3 min read
Mashea Ashton, principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in to different Zoom classes to see how students and teachers are doing.
Mashea Ashton, the principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in on a Zoom class. New research shows ways teachers can build better bonds with students online.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week