By Rebecca Kanfer ’21
Bulletproof backpacks are hitting the halls for the 2018-2019 school year. They’re not the latest fashion symbol, but a means for students to arm themselves against a potential school shooting.
The leading brand of these backpacks are manufactured by Guard Dog Security, a company based in Sanford, Florida near where the most recent deadly high school shooting took place. The company’s bulletproof backpacks are designed to protect their owner in a dire situation involving a gun.
This otherwise normal-looking backpack has several special features that enables it to withstand numerous gunshots. Each backpack comes with a resistance ballistic test certificate proving that the product was tested and equipped to take on nine millimeter handguns and 44 magnum handguns.
As this trend becomes a nationwide phenomenon, bulletproof backpacks should be made available to students everywhere in order to add another layer of safety in the event of a school shooting.
According to Statista, handguns have been the weapon of choice and have been used 134 times in school shootings over the last few years. If students carried bulletproof backpacks, armed assailants might be less likely to target the school knowing it will be more difficult to achieve their goal.
Carrying a bullet-proof backpack could also alleviate the stress and anxiety that parents and students now have to deal with when going or sending their child to school. Unfortunately, this worry has become a reality for many in the 21st century.
A school environment is supposed to be safe and nurturing. However, according to New York University for 49 percent of all students, just going to school can be stressful. The looming possibility of a school shooting happening at any second takes a toll on student’s mental well-being.
According to Jean Kim, a professor at George Washington University, the constant threat of a mass shooting is extremely detrimental to a child’s mental well being causing unnecessary amounts of stress and anxiety. The bullet-proof backpack could potentially ease many of the student’s nerves.
Some argue that the message the school district is sending is rather distressing. It supposedly promotes the notion that they are ill-equipped to protect their students, and instead give a false sense of security.
While having a bullet-proof backpack may reduce anxiety the reality is they might give students a false sense of security. A reporter from ABC Action News explained how the Guard Dog Security backpacks cannot withstand rounds from a AR-15 rifle. This rifle has been used in six out of the 10 most recent school shootings.
The cost is another downfall of these specialty backpacks. The backpacks are pretty expensive. They sell for around $190 , tax not included. Many parents don’t want to spend that large sum of money on a backpack when they could get one for half the price somewhere else.
Bulletproof backpacks have the potential to save many lives. Carrying a bulletproof backpack can turn potential shooters away will alleviate stress for many students. Although this topic is controversial, in the end these backpacks have the ability to make many 21st century students feel protected in facilities that lack in that comfort in 2018.