A Michigan school district implemented a backpack ban starting Monday over safety concerns. 

The policy will be in place through the end of the school year, Flint Community Schools Superintendent Kevelin Jones said in a letter to parents. Students who bring backpacks to school will be sent to the office, where they’ll need to call a parent or guardian to come pick up the bag. 

“Across the country, we have seen an increase in threatening behavior and contraband, including weapons, being brought into schools at all levels,” Jones wrote. “Backpacks make it easier for students to hide weapons, which can be disassembled and harder to identify or hidden in pockets, inside books or under other items.”

Students will be allowed to bring small purses with personal items, clear plastic bags with clothes and lunchboxes, Jones said. The bags will be subject to search. 

In the past, some school districts across the country have required students to use clear backpacks. Jones said clear backpacks don’t completely fix security issues. In a guide for parents, the district wrote weapons can “still easily be hidden in clear backpacks.”

“By banning backpacks altogether and adding an increased security presence across the district, we can better control what is being brought into our buildings,” he wrote to parents. 

The Flint Board of Education, the district’s administration and principals approved Flint’s new backpack policy, Jones said. They also have support from the Flint Police Department.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that this policy will have on our scholars and families, but when it comes to the safety of our school community, we will not take any chances,” Jones said.