Should Parents Add Bulletproof Backpacks to Their Shopping Lists?


NBC News

As the school year quickly approached, parents have added over-priced bulletproof backpacks to their long list of school supplies in light of the recent national tragedies involving gun violence in educational institutions.

Melanie Ozuna, Staff Writer

After a numerous amount of deadly shootings, students tremble in fear of another bloody massacre and United States’ school grounds have confronted at least 58 gunfire incidents in 2019. Industries nationwide have taken advantage of these atrocious acts to make a profit through the selling of bulletproof backpacks. Companies should stop promoting bulletproof backpacks as a solution to gun violence because wearing them makes students noticeably more anxious, the price tag can be unfairly expensive and testing of these backpacks does not prove them entirely effective at combating bullets – which is presumably their main purpose. In all honesty, if a backpack marketed as “bulletproof” cannot do its job, there is no point of constantly reminding students of a school shooting by literally encouraging them to wear a modern form of armor.

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The fact that society has reached a level in which students should purchase a bulletproof backpack is horrendous. Nothing scares me more than knowing that at any given time a shooting could occur. A bulletproof backpack would not give me the peace I need to go about my day. It is the wrong approach toward fixing a gun control issue.”

— junior Diana Solomon

Major companies that manufacture them have guaranteed the safety of students using bulletproof backpacks to thousands of their customers. The backpacks may protect against certain bullets from firearms like handguns, but this doesn’t mean they can protect against the bullets fired from all guns. The companies also conveniently forgot to mention that the product isn’t legally mandated “bulletproof”.

The backpacks were not officially certified by the National Institute of Justice, an evaluation agency in the United States currently in support of efforts to ensure student safety. A profound investigation has also presented that bulletproof backpacks lack enough testing to ensure any student a complete amount of safety. Guard Dog Security, a common bulletproof backpack brand, has concealed this information to keep its sales up. Such false advertisement has manipulated the thoughts of trusted adults, while benefiting unworthy organizations. The manufacturers have released false advertisements that guarantee safety in an emergency, potentially costing the lives of students that counted on their backpacks to protect them.

“From what I’ve read, there is no serious research that would support this approach as a measure to save lives in a school shooting. I consider it to be impractical. The impact of the bullet on the plate would knock a child onto the ground; they’re out of luck. The bookbag isn’t enough to cover all of a kid’s vital organs. The plate would need to be perpendicular to the bullet’s path to work reliably, so if they are running left or right, they don’t have any protection on them,” junior Brandon Quiroz said.

To continue, having to spend an immense amount of money on a bulletproof backpack puts low-income families at a disadvantage. A fearful student might consider buying one because of their popularity, but is unable to due to their economic status. Guard Dog Security brand backpacks have reached $299.99 and immediately sell out at every restock. Including this product in our shopping lists would intensively escalate the price shown on our receipt, possibly pushing families struggling into financial debt. Frankly, this trend is classist and makes those students who cannot afford bulletproof backpacks feel unsafe, even if the backpacks only function as a $300 security blanket.

“I don’t think parents should buy their children bulletproof bookbags. I consider it a waste of money and that it will not fully protect students. Also, I believe that instead of protecting students with bulletproof items, parents should encourage kids to learn about gun safety. Students should learn about what to do in case of an emergency. In that case, they are better prepared for a threatening scenario,” sophomore Katrina Carpintero said.

Not to mention, wearing bulletproof backpacks also increases the levels of anxiety and paranoia in students. Every time the student would pick up or even look at their backpack, they would be reminded of the possibility of a school shooting. This disrupts the learning environment completely by taking the student’s focus off of schoolwork and onto the “what if?” scenarios. Using these backpacks would completely sacrifice the student’s mental health, leading to extreme paranoia and constant anxiety. In the end, it is impossible to give complete peace of mind with only this one product.

By all counts, encouraging the sale of bulletproof backpacks will not lead to winning the fight against gun violence. Students should not be encouraged to buy bulletproof backpacks because they are not always effective, their insanely expensive cost is unfair to the lower classes and wearing them can do severe damage to a student’s mental health. Fighting for justice over gun control is not only the best alternative, but the most reliable. This way, our future leaders will begin to once again feel safe in their educational establishments.