Education

Parkland Students Are Trolling Their New Clear Backpacks With Memes and Live Fish

Time and time again, the teenage survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland have proven they are excellent at social media clapbacks. So it should come as no surprise that they're flooding the web with images of their new mandatory clear backpacks stuffed full of tampons, memes, and even live fish.

The teens have been pretty transparent about their feelings about the bags, which Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie began requiring this week as a safety measure: They think they're stupid invasions of privacy that won't protect anyone.

"They're just an illusion of security," senior Kyra Parrow wrote on Twitter.

By Tuesday, a day after the rule went into effect, an Instagram account had sprung up to show off the best of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High's "clear backpack clapbacks." It had around 3,000 followers and 50 posts one day later, including photos of backpacks filled with condoms, bras, a pineapple, and messages such as "Clear backpacks are stupid," "This backpack is probably worth more than my life," and "We need real change."

The clear winner of the backpack trolls is one buccaneering student who turned his bag into an aquarium:

Other teens used their backpacks to display their impressive meme skills. “Ravioli ravioli" and the galaxy brain are both used to fine effect:

This kitchens not the same without you

A post shared by Invisible Backpack Edition (@msdcamo2) on

One student's backpack called out the Broward Sheriff's Office for its response to the shooting:

Another wrote "crisis actor" in bold lettering, mocking the conspiracy theories propagated by InfoWars, some members of the far right, and a since-fired aide to Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison:

The force behind the Instagram page is A.J Cardenas, a Florida International University freshman who is friends with students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He tells New Times he and some of those friends came up with the idea of creating the account to poke fun at the backpack rule, which he calls a Band-Aid instead of a real solution.

"Of course we're taking shots at it, making jokes, and all that, because we can't really take clear bookbags seriously," Cardenas says.

Of all the submissions he's received so far, he says his favorite is the backpack full of fish. Though he had posted a day earlier that converting a backpack into an aquarium was the "only real thing u can do," he says it's "insane that he actually did it!"

But Cardenas says behind all the jokes and memes lies a serious point.

"I guess that's just one of the characteristics of students: We can add a little bit of snarky humor to all of this, but the message is 'Listen, let's get real,'" he says.
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Brittany Shammas is a former staff writer at Miami New Times. She covered education in Naples before taking a job at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. She joined New Times in 2016.
Contact: Brittany Shammas