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Pleasantville Uses Textbooks Strategically

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Dawn Bartz, Principal of Pleasantville High School, says she is more "old-school" when it comes to the use of textbooks. However, Bartz along with her teachers have worked out policies to virtually eliminate a student carrying around large textbooks all day.

"The students here really take use of their lockers, so the issue of the overloaded backpack, which is something I saw all the time in Connecticut, is something that I have not seen here," said Bartz, who was previously the assistant principal at New Canaan High School.

Bartz said that b???y having Pleasantville students utilize their lockers, it eliminates the issue of carrying around textbooks to each class throughout the day. Bartz also said most classes in Pleasantville use the textbook as a resource for assignments, which allows most students to keep their books at home.

Keeping the amount of time a student carries around textbooks to a minimum is essential, not only at the high school level, but younger grades as well. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study, more than 75 percent of students between the ages of 8 and 12 suffer from increasing back pain caused by hauling oversized, overloaded backpacks.

Yasmin Dhar, M.D., chief of sports medicine at Sound Shore Medical Center, says that there are many medical issues that can result from students carrying an overloaded and heavy backpack.

"Back pain is the reason for a large number of adolescent physician visits. Ill-fitting or overweight backpacks account for some back pain symptoms, as does poor posture that is exacerbated by heavy or ill-fitting backpacks." Dhar said.

Without money being an issue, Bartz said students would ideally be able to keep one copy of a book at home and one copy in the classroom. However, she recognizes that budget constraints may make that an unattainable goal.

"At prices of $110 a textbook, you're talking about major budgetary implications in order to obtain dual textbooks for every student," Bartz said.

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