Bullet-Proof Backpacks: Protecting Students or Feeding Fear

Has it Really Come to This? The latest fashion trend is bulletproof clothing, jackets, shirts and backpacks for children.

Outfitting Kindergartners with body armor seems a bit extreme for some parents, however, other parents would rather err on the side of caution and take the safety of their school-age children into their own hands. One parent stated that they would indeed buy a bullet-proof backpackĀ  because it was a way to keep his protective arms around his child when eh couldn’t physically be there.

After the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012 and the tragic shooting at the Aurora movie theater, people are beginning to think more about protecting themselves and their loved ones from crazed, out-of-control gunmen.

Could a bullet-proof backpack helped to save lives in the recent Sandy Hook Elementary and Aurora, Colorado theater shootings? No one can say for sure. The manufacturers of these bulletproof backpacks say that if just one child is saved, then they have done a good thing.

One manufacturer in South America known as the Armani of bulletproof clothing has been in this business for more than 20 years. Created in Colombia, a country plagued with drug violence for decades, Miguel Cabellero ships to more than 23 countries around the world and touts 11 current presidents and numerous celebrities among his clientele.

Based in Denver, Elite Sterling Security has designed and is actively marketing the latest in kids ballistic wear – the MC Kids Ballistic backpack. Sterling claims the bulletproof backpack can stop a 9mm bullet. That protection comes with a price in increased overall backpack weight and dollars – about $300 to be precise. The company also gets a lot inquiries about child-size bulletproof vests.

Another manufacturer plans to present the idea of keeping a supply of bulletproof clothing on hand in school classroom as a protection for students. Some have even gone as far as creating bulletproof whiteboards, blotter pads and bulletin boards. With budget cuts already affecting art, music and other “nonessential” programs, how can any school hope to set aside a budget for these expensive items?

 

Practicality (schools) vs. Emotion (parents)

One of the new job positions showing up in schools over the last several years is security or safety consultant/specialist. The people serving in these positions are responsible for making every school campus a secure and safe environment. That’s really tough job these days.

Parents want their children to be safe and come at the problem with very intense emotion. After all, safety of their children is paramount and they are willing to do just about anything to provide that safety – including buying bullet-proof backpacks. Manufacturers are quick to emphasize the dangers in a school environment and how hard it is to leave kids at school when they aren’t adequately protected. It’s very easy for manufacturers to oblige fearful parents and provide solutions when it seems like schools are short on solutions.

The school districts are faced with other issues. School officials are quick to say that bulletproof backpacks for school are simply not practical. Just how much protection is enough? Some contend that if students need a bulletproof insert in a school backpack, they might also need a front pack or helmet. How much is really enough? Others say that school Don’t Kids Leave Their Backpacks in Lockers During the Day? If so, how would a bullet-proof backpack help?

So is there a need for such things? Do people really want bullet-proof backpacks for their kids? The Washington Times reported on April 29, 2013 that one security firm has more than 2,000 families on a waiting list for these items (Link HERE).

A poll running in the Cleveland Plain Dealer online indicated about 55% of parents would buy a bullet-proof backpack while about 40% would not. About 5% of the 100o people participating in the poll remained undecided. Some believe this as a ominous sign that people are willing to accept the current state of gun violence in this country, or at least protect their kids from that violence.

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