Bulletproof school supplies a response to hostile threats

Aaron Deans, Staff Writer

Mass shootings, and a fearful population have created a new industry, those who make bulletproof school supplies. These range from bulletproof backpacks to books and clothing, as well as bulletproof inserts for backpacks.

Some schools have taken these backpacks quite seriously. CNN recently shared a story of how a K-12 school in Florida recently began selling bulletproof panels for students’ backpacks. However, the effectivity of bulletproof backpacks, and their potential to replace or at least supplement other safety measures, is a debatable point.

NBC News reported that bulletproof backpacks do have a number of weaknesses, including higher costs and the fact that students don’t always keep their backpacks with them. Having bulletproof materials on hand may make parents less anxious about their children’s safety, but it’s not necessarily the safest choice.

English teacher Niki Hinds said that bulletproofing school supplies wouldn’t be sufficient to replace other safety measures, according to.

“I still think keeping mentally disturbed people with weapons off the campus would be a higher priority, and, you know, getting people the services that they need,” she said.

Sophomore Krisha Sharma suggests that with other safety measures, bulletproof school supplies shouldn’t even be necessary.

“I think it’s kind of a bit of a waste of money,” she said.  “You could implement bulletproof glass in the classrooms, not necessarily individual school supplies. And already, the school does so much to protect us, so I don’t think that it’s necessary to take it one step further and have school supplies.”

Sophomore Lyra Hunt also believes other measures should be prioritized.

“Focusing on other safety measures that can ensure the safety of all students is definitely a better strategy to address school shootings,” she said. Such measures would include “developing methods outside of just remaining inside the class, and informing us of backup plans and individual strategies of escape.”

The cost of bulletproof backpacks and such is also important to consider. On Amazon, bulletproof backpacks and inserts generally range from $80 to $190; however, typical backpacks generally sell for far less, between $10 and $60.  Is a bulletproof backpack worth the additional cost?

Hinds believes that bulletproof backpacks may not be the best option if they cost too much.
“I think it’s an okay supplementary thing to do,” she said. “But if it’s costing a school millions of dollars to do that, then I think, I don’t know if that’s money well spent.”

Hunt considers the cost to be important.“The idea of purchasing the backpack I would consider, but only if it isn’t too pricey,” she said.