A Miami private school is offering parents an unusual item for sale: bulletproof panels for their kids’ backpacks.
The Florida Christian School website has a list of items available for purchase. These include winter wear, red school logo T-shirts and ballistic panels.
George Gulla, dean of students and head of school security at Florida Christian School, told CNN the bulletproof panels would add “another level of protection” to students of the pre-K through grade 12 school “in the event of an active shooter.”
The school has never had a shooting incident.
“The teachers are trained to instruct the students to use their backpacks as a shield to protect themselves,” Gulla told CNN in an email.
The cost of the panels is $120.
Gulla also said showing teachers how to use the panels is just a part of the overall safety training he gives them.
Bulletproof is the new black
The five deadliest shootings in modern US history have occurred roughly in the past 10 years. The second-deadliest was last year at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The deadliest happened just over a month ago in Las Vegas. The fifth deadliest occurred this past weekend at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. These tragic events have increased the amount and types of bulletproof products on the market.
In 2013, months after the mass shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, a Maryland university made the decision to invest in bulletproof whiteboards. The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore purchased 200 of the whiteboards, citing the deadly Newtown shooting as the deciding factor.
Whiteboards and backpacks are not the only bulletproof items available in the wake of mass shootings. There is an entire industry dedicated to the manufacture of bulletproof products. These include notebooks, computer briefcases, barrier blankets, furniture, and even underwear.
There also is a bulletproof high-end fashion line that offers everything from formal wear to raincoats to leather jackets. Several world leaders wear the brand’s products.
Looking for a quick fix?
Despite the popularity of bulletproof products available for school settings, some say making these items available to children could cause more harm than good.
School security expert Kenneth Trump, no relation to the President, said people are looking for a “quick fix” to a problem that needs a more in-depth solution.
“The first and best line of defense is a well-trained staff and student body,” Trump said. “If you need a bulletproof backpack, don’t you need a bulletproof front pack, headgear, and bulletproofing the rest of your body down to your toes?”
Trump also said that while these products are well-intended they are not “well focused for a child-centered environment.”