Bulletproof Backpacks: Good Student Protection or Impractical Waste?


Impact Armor Technologies in Cleveland is among a small but growing number of U.S. companies marketing backpack shields and other bulletproof school products, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The movement to steel children against the extremely rare chance they’ll encounter a school shooter is controversial. Opponents say bulletproof backpacks feed children’s fear and suspicion of their peers, adults, and the world at large.

School safety consultant Kenneth Trump said fortified backpacks are simply not practical. “I often ask, if you need a bulletproof backpack, are you going to need a bulletproof frontpack as well? Are you going to get a bulletproof helmet to go along? Are you going to train the student to take a Captain America stance and defend himself?” Impact Armor makes the boards of the synthetic fiber Kevlar, layered with adhesives, to make a panel about a half-inch thick that slips inside a backpack. The boards sell for $70 to $95, depending on size. Rob Slattery, Impact Armor’s sales manager and a former police officer said, “If we save one life, regardless of whether we sell one or a million, we’ve done something fantastic.”

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