Are Bulletproof Backpacks This School Year’s Must Have Accessory?

As the school year approaches, bulletproof backpacks are selling across the country as a means of protection for students against an active threat.

Are Bulletproof Backpacks This School Year’s Must Have Accessory?

Bulletproof backpacks are reportedly growing in popularity as shootings increase across the nation and two shootings last weekend left more than 30 people dead.

As the start of a new school year approaches, bulletproof backpacks are on more parents’ back-to-school shopping lists as a means of added student security if a threat were to enter a classroom, reports The Hill.

Companies like Guard Dog Security and Bulletproof Zone have designed bulletproof inserts that can clip comfortably into a backpack and are said to be able to stop multiple bullet rounds. They can be found in stores such as Office Max, Office Depot and KMart.

“Manufactured with 24 layers of Twaron, a high performance to weight ratio material similar to Kevlar, this insert is extremely light while meeting Level IIIA standards,” the description of Bulletproof Zone’s bulletproof backpack explains. “The ballistic shields when inserted into backpacks, briefcases or computer bags will provide the highest level of protection currently available as lightweight concealable body armor.”

The bags typically run between $100 and $200 and some companies are looking into the development of bulletproof binders and other school-related products.

“It’s a little bit terrifying that we even have to consider these things but I think that’s the world we’re living in,” said Luke Siekmeier, a father of four in Denver.

J.T. Lewis, a student at the University of Connecticut and brother to one of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, told the New York Times he carries a bulletproof backpack on campus to feel safe.

“I don’t know if it’s going to have any effect,” said Lewis, who’s running for a seat in the Connecticut State Senate. “But it might if I get shot from behind.”

However, with so much new equipment and security options on the market today, CS Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley cautions parents that they should use common sense when purchasing campus security technology.

“There are several issues I have with these backpacks,” she says:

  • “Although the rate of gun violence in America is unacceptably high, the chances of someone being killed by an active shooter are really, really small. You are much more likely to be struck by lightning.
  • “Even in the unlikely event that a student does get caught up in an active shooter attack, the backpack won’t protect them from the front or side. Additionally, in an effort to get away from the shooter more quickly, they might take off their backpack, rendering it useless.
  • “Again, in the unlikely event that a student experiences a school shooting, there is a really good chance the student won’t be wearing their backpack if they are sitting in class, at lunch, playing on the playground or exercising in physical education class.”

About the Author

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Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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