Bulletproof Backpacks are NOT the Answer

When it comes to protecting our kids, most parents are up for just about anything nowadays. I know the thought of putting your child on the bus and never seeing them again because there was an active shooter in the building that day, is every American parents’ nightmare. It’s a sad state of mind parents, grandparents and guardians must face with violence in our schools occurring again and again, but we need to be on guard and not be suckered into expensive, ineffective solutions. One such “solution” being hyped in the media right now is bulletproof backpacks.

I for one, say, don’t bother:

  1. They will not stop bullets
  2. They aren’t effective protection
  3. They aren’t cost-effective

Bullet-Resistant Not Bulletproof

First and foremost, there is no such thing as a bulletproof backpack. Law enforcement doesn’t even have access to “bulletproof vests”. Members of the FBI, SWAT and other officers of the law wear bullet-resistant protective wear made with Kevlar. This type of protective wear is effective when handguns or pistols are used. However, when it comes to resisting bullets from AK-variant semi-automatic rifles that were used during the most violent school shootings bullet-resistance is rendered useless.

Cost Doesn’t Justify Utility

These backpacks are expensive. They can cost up to $250. That would be money well spent if they could protect our children from harm, but the potential to protect is just not there.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that the school shooter is using a handgun. There might be a chance the bullet will be stopped, but only if the student is in a position where the bullet hits the backpack. Unless the student has the presence of mind to turn around and squat, the backpack will provide no protection for the student from the front or side.

On the other hand, if the student stops to turn around and squat to protect most of their body, they literally become sitting ducks. I for one do not want to discourage students from running away from danger to rely on a backpack that most likely will not protect them from being shot.

Also, don’t forget that most schools do not allow backpacks in the classroom. This poses the question; how can the bulletproof backpack protect the student when it is prohibited from being worn during the hours classes are in session? Unless the shooter attacks at the beginning or right at the end of school, the backpack won’t even be an option for protection in most schools.

Bulletproof Backpacks

The Risk for Gun-Related Violence is Not at School

Let’s get real, when it comes to preventing childhood/teen fatalities at the end of a gun, parents are better off asking if their child is “ok” than buying a “bulletproof backpack”. Why? Teenage suicide claims more lives than school shootings. In fact, teen suicide is the second leading cause of death for our American youth. If we really want to prevent firearm-related deaths for our youth, we would be better off having more family, friends, teachers, etc. watch for and act upon the warning signs of depression.

Clear Backpacks

If you are looking for a viable solution, clear backpacks are the way to go. They stop kids from bringing everything from drugs to guns to school.

Law enforcement and trained security experts agree. Just look at the NFL. If you haven’t been to a game recently, clear bags/purses are the only type of bag allowed into the stadium.

It’s true, clear backpacks won’t stop a bullet, but they will stop a student from bringing a weapon into school, albeit a gun, knife, club, etc. Combine a requirement for clear backpacks with security assessments, training and the implementation of sound physical security solutions and the potential for injury and death at the end of a gun is significantly decreased. “Bulletproof backpacks” are only a “quick fix” that provides a false sense of protection. So I recommend you save your money and pass on the “bulletproof backpack”.

Timothy Dimoff – Speaker, National Expert, Author

Tim Dimoff’s engaging and thought-provoking presentations are sure to enlighten, inform and move you into taking action on such critical issues as workplace risks, substance abuse, security, and societal threats. Feel free to contact Tim today to speak at your organization.

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