We now live in a world where schools unfortunately find it necessary to armor our children. According to CNN, Florida Christian School—a private school in Miami—is selling bulletproof panels for their students’ backpacks. The decision comes in an effort to bolster kids from pre-K through grade 12 with “another level of protection in the event of an active shooter,” George Gulla, dean of students and head of school security at FCS, told CNN via email.
Each panel costs $120, and teachers are shown how to use the panel as part of Gulla’s safety training. Though there’s reportedly never been a shooting incident at the school, Gulla says “teachers are trained to instruct the students to use their backpacks as a shield to protect themselves.”
As CNN notes, the five deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history have occurred in the last decade. In 2012, a mass shooting left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., prompting The University of Maryland-Eastern Short to purchase 200 bulletproof whiteboards from Hardwire LLC, a company based in Pocomoke City, Md. In October, before committing suicide, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed at least 50 and injured 400 others when he fired from the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay hotel into the crowd of Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival.
And just last weekend, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., killing 26 people and injuring 20 others. Half of those killed were reported to be children.
But while the bulletproof industry is booming, school security expert Kenneth Trump (who is not related to the president), tells CNN preparation for disaster goes beyond a “quick fix,” and doesn’t believe available products are “well focused for a child-centered environment.”
“The first and best line of defense is a well-trained staff and student body,” Trump stated. “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?”