Bulletproof backpacks are on the back-to-school shopping lists of many parents this summer, according to a recent report – or at least grabbing their attention.
Interest in bullet-resistant backpacks has increased in recent years, CNBC reports, and there’s a growing number of options to meet that need.
“The backpack has been a popular item,” Yasir Sheikh, president and founder of Skyline USA, a company that makes Guard Dog Security products including bullet-resistant backpacks, told the media outlet. “We have sold out a few times this year.”
Another company that offers a solution for bulletproof backpacks was started by a local dad here in Michigan. Tony Nardone of Troy is the owner of BulletSafe, which sells bulletproof backpack panels for $99 at bulletsafe.com – and he says they’ve been selling out.
“Protecting kids isn’t our main business,” Nardone told Metro Parent in spring 2018. “But we designed this product for people who are concerned for their kids.”
While the children’s bulletproof backpack can perhaps help parents feel empowered, some counter that it won’t necessarily avert tragedy.
Experts warn that the backpacks may offer a false sense of security – especially if kids aren’t permitted to have their backpacks in class – and would not protect against gunfire from an AR-15, for example, CNBC reports.
School safety questions
Either way, parents can take action by finding out about school safety at their child’s school. Here are a few questions to ask school administration.
1. How are doors secured?
Secure entry doors are a key safety consideration for any school. Today, most schools use a buzz-in system for parents and staff. Find out when exterior doors are locked, who has access and how visitors can gain entry.
2. Metal detectors?
Does your school have them? Most don’t, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Some people believe they could help prevent tragedies, while others worry the detectors could create an “intimidating” environment, notes Michigan company Total Security Solutions. Ask your school if you’re concerned.
3. What are the safety procedures?
And is there anything parents should reinforce at home? Ask about your school’s safety procedures and lockdown drills.
4. What training has taken place?
School employees should have access to early intervention and prevention training, the National PTA notes, as well as training for how to handle emergencies.
5. How can you help?
Many schools have a school safety team comprised of administration, parents and law enforcement, the National PTA reports. If your school or district has one, find out how you might be able to get involved.