SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A backpack ban will remain in place at Marshwood High School even after dozens of students staged a sit-in to protest the school’s policy.

At least 50 students at the South Berwick school staged a protest Friday to make their voices heard on a school policy that prohibits the use of back-packs during school hours.

Eleventh-grader Richard Cooney said students feel like they’re not making progress in persuading the principal to change the policy.

Superintendent Jeffrey Bearden said the policy was put into place as a safety measure several years ago after the 1999 Columbine High School killings.

He said the rule also cuts down on classroom clutter and reduces the stress students place on their backs.