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How I reduced the weight of my children's school bags
By Elson T. Elizaga

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Whenever I share the method of splitting the textbooks to friends and relatives, I would be told that it is a good and original idea. But while drafting this article, I did a Google and found the phrase "split volume". It's the same concept, but the publisher of the textbook, not the parent, applies the procedure in the printing shop.

The idea came after a mother in California angrily organized a protest in 2002 because her son was carrying 43 pounds [19 kilos] of school books daily in a bicycle. A member of the California State Assembly, Rod Pacheco, then filed a bill requiring the California State Board of Education (SBE) to find solutions. "The State Board of Education is the K-12 policy-making body for academic standards, curriculum, instructional materials, assessments and accountability."

In response to the bill, SBE conducted research and consulted stakeholders in 2003 until 2007. Among the adopted recommendations was a weight standard for elementary and secondary textbooks. SBE also required publishers to offer light versions of textbooks if they exceed a weight threshold. “These lighter weight alternatives may include, but are not limited to, split volumes, electronic editions, soft-cover editions or other alternate physical formats. “

Pediatricians and chiropractors consulted in the SBE research “recommend that students not carry more than fifteen percent of their body weight in a backpack, or risk negative health impacts.” end

Nafe Coop Printing Press  

In 2016, I found an excellent printing press near our house. It's called Nafe Coop Printing Press and is in the basement of CLIMBS Building, Zone 5, Upper Bulua, Cagayan de Oro. It's just a few steps from Gaisano Bulua. Nafe has split my children's textbooks, and repaired my damaged books. Send email to nafecoopprintingpress@gmail.com.

If you're in the center of Cagayan de Oro, another option is Legacy Printing Press.



UPDATE: The author is verifying a report about a grade six student named Melanie who developed spinal injury because of prolonged carrying of heavy school bag. She was unable to walk and became bedridden in 2013. Melanie was a student of Pedro Oloy N. Roa Elementary School in barangay Calaanan, Cagayan de Oro.

Published Sept. 9, 2015. Revised June 15, 2017 . © 2017 Elson T. Elizaga. A short version published in Mindanao Gold Star Daily on June 5, 2017.