Why do teenagers often hold their books in their hands in US films and series?

In movies and series, it’s cute when two people jostle in the hallways, drop their books and help each other pick them up. But why wasn’t all this mess in a backpack? Thank you the locker, but it may also be because of the killings in schools.

Have you ever wondered why teenagers in American series and films frequently carry their books and notebooks in the hallways of their establishment? Admittedly, this is partly because they generally have a lot of lockers, compared to France. It is surely also to allow a cliché encounter where a boy jostles a girl and helps her pick up her things that have fallen. But another much darker reason may explain why students are sometimes forced to carry their belongings in the United States, in reality.

Indeed, many schools in the United States limit the choice of model, even the use of backpacks within them. And this mention in the rules of procedure is not romantic, contrary to what the series and the films would have us believe.

Books in hand rather than in a backpack, the high school heroines of the teen movie Clueless, released in 1995.

Mass killings in schools, a common reality

Indeed, killings in primary schools, colleges and high schools are commonplace in this country which allows firearms under certain conditions. (not in schools, but this rule is often broken). The Columbine shooting particularly marked the spirits: on April 20, 1999, in a secondary school in Colorado, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed twelve of their comrades and a teacher, and injured more or less seriously twenty-four other students. And this is far from being an isolated case, since at least the 1920s.

Among the deadliest school killings Recent events include the April 16, 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech University in Virginia, which left 33 people dead, including the shooter. We should also mention the February 14, 2018 Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where former student Nikolas Jacob Cruz killed 17 people and sent 15 others to hospital, allegedly by belief in white supremacy, hatred of Jewish women and people.

nothing butin the 2021-2022 school year, 193 incidents involving firearms in institutions were recorded in the United States, including 22 killings mass, relay TF1.

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Weapon scanners and a backpack limit against school killings

In addition to security gates supposed to scan the possible presence of knives or firearms in order to guard against further killings, the house rules of many schools in the United States prohibit or limits the use of backpacks within them.

Some schools ban them completelyas reported Newsweek in September 2021, when others only allow completely transparent onesrelieves USA Today in July 2022.

This last media interrogates in particular Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm in security and safety services for schools in the country, which analyzes with relevance:

“Most shootings and other security incidents involve alleged failures of people, policies, procedures, training and other human factors and not failures of materials, equipment and things like bags. with transparent backs. »

For this expertschools would be better off investing in better staff training, more supervision in the hallways, and more teachers to build relationships with students for added safetyrather than a backpack ban approach.

The absurdity of the backpack ban, derided on TikTok

In this TikTok video, students banned from backpacks are seen carrying their belongings taped to their backs or in a trolley.

Sometimes these are temporary measures, sometimes they last for years. And students are having more and more fun making fun of this kind of absurd restrictions, in particular through TikTok videos.

Because some students compete in ingenuity to still carry their heavy things without having to carry them at arm’s length all the time. While this may seem amusing at first glance, it says a lot about the absurdity of the policies of this country which prefers to ban backpacks rather than firearms

The sadness of the growing market for bulletproof armored satchels

For establishments that allow backpacks, a whole market of armored backpacks is also developing to be bulletproof, since capitalism always enjoys insecurity. Sadder, parents of students also tell on the networks what they explain to their children to react in the event of a killing in their school. In August 2022, this video of a mother who bought a bulletproof armored schoolbag for her 5-year-old child went viral and asked him how he would react in the event of a killing:

Hesitating to equip your child with a bulletproof backpack for school remains a reality that few American series and films dare to tell. Because a shootout surely turns out to be less photogenic and romantic than a rush of future lovers loaded with books in their hands who meet in the corridors of a college-high school.


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Front page photo credit: Screenshot from the teen movie Clueless.

Why do teenagers often hold their books in their hands in US films and series?