‘Anything But a Backpack’ Trend Started as a Necessity



Nonnewaug students broke out all sorts of unconventional backpack replacements Feb. 7 for Anything But A Backpack Day to kick off winter Spirit Week.

Madelynn Orosz, Reporter

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug’s winter Spirit Week kicked off with a bang during Anything But A Backpack Day on Feb. 7. Students brought in items such as microwaves, laundry baskets, fertilizer spreaders, boats, and even a child.

Where did this trend come from?

#anythingbutabackpack was a trending hashtag on TikTok in October 2021. This trend was started out of necessity for students in Idaho. 

It all started in the Jefferson School District 251 in Idaho. In May 2021, a sixth-grader opened fire with a handgun and shot two students and a janitor. This led the school board to be on high alert when it came to school security and safety.

As students finished the spring semester and entered summer, they thought they were out of the woods. But on Sept. 23, 2021, another tragedy occurred when an emotionally struggling 13-year-old girl got taken into custody after school administration found a gun in her backpack.

Hours later, the local Board of Education issued a statement banning the use of backpacks in schools. This sparked outrage among parents and students alike. Students the next day started to bring in items to protest as well as poke fun at the new rule

Chad Martin, superintendent of Jefferson School District 251, came out with a statement claiming that “it was good to see the kids turning it into a positive thing.”

Shortly after that first day, students began using the hashtag #anythingbutabackpack on TikTok. This blew up around October, and many schools around the country started using the hashtag for their school spirit week.

As Nonnewaug became one of the first Connecticut schools to bring this trend to spirit week, it is expected that many surrounding towns and beyond will also participate.