The school shooting in Uvalde (Texas), in which 19 children and two teachers were killed in May, is still very present among teachers, students and parents in the United States, and it is even noted in the list of materials for the return to school, that this next course will include bulletproof or transparent backpacks.
MANY MORE SEARCHES
David Artman, founder and chief executive of the specialized security store The Home Security Superstore, tells Efe that in the last 30 days he has noticed an increase in both searches and sales of these peculiar backpacks.
In the last month, almost 9,000 people have searched for this type of backpack on the Artman store website, 3,655% more compared to last month, an interest that is also detected by other sellers and manufacturers of “armoured” backpacks.
Regarding sales, Artman says that they have increased in general, but that it is difficult to count those for school use because “today many children are the same size as an adult” and it is impossible to find out how many backpacks end up on the backs of minors. and older.
The idea is that, in the event of a shooting, the child can use the backpack as a shield, but Artan reminds that when buying this type of product, parents have to take into account several factors, such as the type of protection they want, the size and weight.
For example, a backpack from your store with an emoji design aimed at children with protection level 3A – that is, it can block almost all pistol shots, including 9 and 44 mm Magnum bullets – weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 16.5 inches tall by 12 inches wide.
Artman advises parents to cut the dimensions they are looking for in a cardboard and ask themselves if their child could be protected, and to keep in mind that a larger size means more safety but at the cost of more weight.
“We’re doing everything we can to inform you that not all backpacks are going to stop all blasts and certainly not blasts from the AR 15 (the rifle used by Salvador Ramos in the Texas school massacre),” he adds.
Other schools have opted for different solutions in search of greater security: thus, several school districts in Texas will require this coming school year that students in sixth through 12th grade (between 11 and 18 years old) carry transparent or mesh backpacks.
“We recognize that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns. This is simply one of several steps in the district’s comprehensive plan to better ensure the safety of students and staff,” the school district said. Dallas (Texas) after announcing the measure in mid-July.
The district has already purchased the clear backpacks and is ready to distribute them before the start of the school year.
A “SECURITY THEATER”
The president of the national school safety consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, Ken Trump, tells Efe that both bulletproof and transparent backpacks provide a kind of “peace of mind” for parents, rather than “security in yes” for the students.
Regarding bulletproof backpacks, Trump, who is not related to the former president, notes that they are more like “bullet resistant, not really bulletproof.”
In the case of those that are transparent, the expert explains that entering with a gun is as simple as rolling it up in a sweatshirt.
“The reality is that those who come into a school with weapons very often have them on them. So I think that’s a kind of security theater, to create the perception that something is being done and to make people feel emotionally secure,” she stresses.
In addition, the expert highlights that both parents and those in charge of school security have to ask themselves if the measures around these rare events are effective or are they creating more anxiety and insecurity for students.
This week a video of an Oklahoma mother teaching her 5-year-old son how to use a Spider-Man bulletproof backpack and the steps she needed to take in the event of a classroom shooting went viral on TikTok. her. (https://www.tiktok.com/@thewaltonfamily1/video/7129880974006996270?is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=7129880974006996270)
School shootings in the US hit a two-decade high in 2021, with 93 school shootings on record, according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.