As mass shootings continue to plague the U.S., schools across the country are taking precautions to protect their students. The Florida Christian School in Miami, which has never had a school shooting incident, has started selling bulletproof panel inserts for students’ backpacks.
The panels, CNN reported, appeared as one of the items sold via the non-denominational K-12 school’s website, alongside sweatshirts, t-shirts, and other such items. George Gulla, the dean of students and head of school security at the school, said that the panels would give parents peace of mind.
In an email to CNN, Gulla explained that the panels, which cost $120, will add “another level of protection” and that “the teachers are trained to instruct the students to use their backpacks as a shield to protect themselves.” While it may seem like parents can never be too careful when it comes to protecting their kid, school security expert Kenneth Trump warned that finding quick, easy solutions to complex situations rarely works out the way people think it will.
“The first and best line of defense is a well-trained staff and student body,” Trump told CNN. “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?”
Thanks to the regularity of shootings in America — this weekend’s tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas was the 555th in 511 days — parents invest in “special protection” to ensure their kid’s safety. For example, after the horrific massacre at Newtown, Connecticut, Amendment II, a company that produces bulletproof backpacks and body armor for kids, reported that its sales had tripled due to concerned parents.
Schools have also become susceptible to investing in expensive and largely unnecessary security and technology if they believe it will convince parents their kids are safe.
Is this the new normal? Bulletproof panels sold matter-of-factly alongside pencils and comfy sweatshirts? To present such items as school equipment is an aggressive move, to say the least. But, until a gun-control solution is reached, such things may just be a regular occurrence.