RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A North Carolina school safety committee is recommending an armed resource officer in every local school.
But, what if there was an additional way to protect your child during a school shooting?
Some say the answer can found in bulletproof backpacks – which some parents are buying for their kids.
The backpack armor is becoming mainstream as more and more companies are now selling them.
“It’s sad but it’s in this day and age,” said parent Maurita McKissack. “But maybe what it has come to, you know, with the kids bringing weapons to school, things like that nature, you might have to be proactive.”
Stores like Walmart sell a bulletproof backpack online for less than $200.
But, will they really protect your child during a school shooting?
Retired FBI agent John McMurtrie put the Guard Dog Security Proshield Two backpack to the test.
The backpack says it has a level 3-A protection, which means it should stop bullets like those from a handgun.
He found it stopped a bullet and said the wearer would feel like they got punched in the back or hit by a baseball bat.
“They would definitely feel it. But it would stop it,” said McMurtrie.
In another round of testing, the Guarddog backpack stopped a .22 Magnum, a Glock 9mm, a .40 caliber handgun and a shotgun round.
“The idea is to have an extra layer of protection,” said Yasir Sheikh, who is the president of Guard Dog backpacks.
But when it came to an AR-15 – that same backpack could not stop that round.
Other items on the market include bulletproof panels that slide into your child’s backpack.
An insert by Bulletsafe costs $99 and weighs a pound and a half.
Shooting instructor Scott Vignola put it to the test.
As advertised, it stopped bullets from a .45 caliber handgun and a shotgun.
But it too was no match for an AR-15.
A round from that weapon went through the Bulletsafe panel and three books that were stored in the backpack.
Vignola said the backpack shield wasn’t made to stop a round from an AR-15.
“It’s for handgun rounds only,” he said.
Remember, the level 3-A rating is not made to stop an AR-15 and each of the products tested did protect as advertised for the rating they carried.
We’ve seen parents rush to local schools to protect their kids following threats, but is buying a bulletproof backpack an overreaction?
Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia spoke with former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison who chaired the school safety committee.
He said the backpacks work but Sbraccia wanted to know if they create a false sense of security.
“I think a lot of it is,” said Harrison. “It’s like a domestic violence order – it’s a piece of paper and this is a vest.”
Harrison asked, “Is the kid going to have it on right? Is he going to take it off? What’s he going to do with it?”
But, some parents believe the bulletproof backpacks are a necessity.
“It’s not an overreaction,” said parent Corinne Mosher. “We can’t overstate the need to prepare our children as much as possible for the worst case scenario.”
With sales on the rise, bulletproof backpacks are becoming more ubiquitous taking school safety to the next level.