Backbreaking Backpacks


Abigail C. '21

Junior Meghan Freeze walks up the stairs with her backpack. She struggles to walk with a bag that is much heavier than her back can handle.

Abigail C. '21, Reporter

It’s a problem many students have, but very few talk about – their backs hurt. This isn’t surprising because of the weight of the backpacks they carry between every class.

Many students have experienced back pain during their four years walking the halls of Padua. Junior Meghan Freeze likes to carry all of her books all day. However, she feels pain from her book bag, “…throughout the whole day when I carry my books all around the school. It’s very heavy and weighs down on my back.”

Cynthia Brosky, a freshman, felt that the weight of backpacks is especially difficult for students with back problems. “I actually got surgery on my back in the end of June. I had scoliosis and I’m still feeling it… It definitely has an impact on me some days,” said Brosky.

The problem of back pain from backpacks is one that is never really discussed at Padua. A good first step to helping solve the backpack problem would be informing students on the subject. Here are some scientifically proven steps for students to use in improving their backpack weight:

(Click to enlarge) The science behind why your back hurts from your bookbag from Teen Health, a website run by Neumors, and solutions for how to lessen the pain.

Although backpacks can be damaging, some students are split on their opinions about them. Samantha Tuschinski, a Sophomore, feels that this issue isn’t really worth the trouble it would take to fix it. “I already know my backpack [weight] is probably not great, but I don’t really like to think about it too much.” 

Brosky felt the same way. “As long as we are careful with what we carry, I think it’s gonna be okay.” 

However, Tuchnski also admits that other people could benefit from backpack alternatives. “I definitely think some textbooks could be put online more because I know there are girls who will pack all their books for the day in their backpacks, and then they’re carrying that around for the whole day.”

Freeze also suggested that the school should give more time in between classes. This would allow students to get their books from their lockers more often instead of carrying them all around in their backpack.

One alternative that students seem to agree wouldn’t work is rolling backpacks. “It sounds good at first but in the hallways you can be very crowded and very very cramped everywhere. Rolling backpacks may be a serious hazard and people could trip over them or better yet fall,” said Brosky.

Freshman Ashlanda Bannerman uses a rolling backpack at school because her backpack was causing her excess pain. However, she agrees that people without medical concerns shouldn’t use rolling backpacks. “It gets kind of hard getting through people in the halls with my rolling backpack,” Bannerman said, “so to imagine the whole school using them would become a hazard.”