New Castle News

May 3, 2014

Josh Drespling: ‘To carry’ in your backpack takes on a whole new meaning

Josh Drespling
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — I've developed the most amazing idea!

It's so abundantly revolutionary that you may, at first, not grasp the genius of my sentiment. I hesitate to release such a wealth of elevated knowledge on the common folk of our community, but it must be done. I must spread the wealth of knowledge.

I propose that we immediately ban all backpacks from school! Yes, I said it. Bask in the glow of my intellectual supremacy.

If you couldn't detect the mountain of sarcasm in my voice you may be thinking, “What lunacy has this Drespling boy got in his head this time?” Who would contrive such an inane thought, let alone act upon it? However, this is exactly the action an elementary school in Monroeville has taken.

Following an incident where a 6-year-old boy took a loaded .45 caliber, semi-automatic hand gun to school, the school's administrative reaction was to ban backpacks for the remainder of the school year. This was their apparent attempt to ensure the safety of their staff and students. It is so clear that the backpack was the problem here and everybody knows backpacks will be much safer next September.

It is obvious the backpack was the aggressor and the catalyst in this particular situation. The backpack woke up especially early the day in question. He grabbed his crayons and pencils, some paper, and that one overdue library book. Last, but not least, he stuffed the loaded weapon deep inside one of those hidden interior pockets. The backpack thought that he would show the gun off to all his friends. He knew most of them would have never seen such a thing and would be in awe at his devil-may-care attitude, not to mention his bad boy image.

He would soon be the coolest backpack in the entire school. He was positive all the little girl backpacks would see how awesome he was. Hopefully, that lil' pink backpack he has had his eye on would finally notice that he exists.

He hoped he wouldn’t get into trouble. However, he figured his plan was air-tight. Who would believe it was he who devised this master plan? After all, he was just a lowly backpack made of an innocent hodge-podge of synthetic fabric, zippers, and snaps. No one in their right mind would ever suspect him of being such a diabolic fiend. The chances of him being found out were slim at best.

But alas, the master sleuths that could easily give Sherlock Homes a run for his money quickly discovered his reprehensible plan. The plan that he carefully laid and the blame that he fully expected to pin on a little boy, was foiled by some forward-thinking and intellectually-superior members of the school's administration.

Obviously, I am engaging in reductio ad absurdum, but the point still remains that the ultimate responsibility for such a situation does not lie with a backpack, but rather with the parents and community that surround this little boy.

There is apparently more to the back story of this incident. The media are reporting that the mother has been arrested on several charges and authorities are looking into the home life of the child. It is also being reported that the child is not the one who put the gun in the backpack and that he did the responsible thing in giving the gun to his teacher as soon as he discovered it in his backpack.

It seems as though this little boy had more common sense than the school officials he turned to. Maybe we should ban them. Perhaps a ban on parents would be more appropriate, but whatever the case, eliminating backpacks is not the solution to a much larger problem.