Assembly Passes Legislation to Reduce Weight of Student Backpacks
The Assembly yesterday voted 71-1 to approve a bill (AB 2532) that would require school boards to develop plans to reduce the weight of student backpacks, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The legislation, sponsored by Assembly member Rod Pacheco (R-Riverside) and Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Daly City), would require the Board of Education to develop and distribute a voluntary survey to school districts to find "creative, cost-effective options to reduce excess backpack weight," such as offering textbooks on CD or providing students with an additional set of books to keep at home. However, lawmakers dropped a provision in the bill that would have required the Board of Education to establish a maximum weight standard for school textbooks (Frith, AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/29). The California Medical Association and the California Physical Therapy Association support the legislation. The groups said that an increased number of children have collar bones with "abnormal growth patterns" as a result of strain from backpacks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 5,000 U.S. students each year receive emergency room treatment for backpack-related injuries (California Healthline, 4/26). Pacheco said, "Ninety-pound children are carrying 40-pound backpacks. These burdens are creating severe medical difficulties" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/29). Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles) added, "Doing homework should not be hazardous to your health." The bill moves to the Senate for consideration (Garrett, Riverside Press-Enterprise 5/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.