With Congress unable to agree on any concrete steps to combat mass shootings in the United States, one Florida school is offering parents a tool that could make students a bit safer in the event of gunfire: a $120 bullet-resistant backpack insert.
Alex Cejas, a father at Florida Christian School, runs Applied Fiber Concepts, a body armor company. The Miami Herald reports that he outfitted his own kids with the soft armor backpack plates, which weigh under a pound, and made a deal to offer them to other interested families. A number of body armor companies also sell armored backpacks, the public radio program Marketplace has reported. One company, called Lifeshield Technologies, offers a “bulletproof backpack” for both kids and adults, complete with a cell phone or tablet compartment.
Applied Fiber’s panels won’t stop all bullets, the Herald reports: Handgun fire should be intercepted, but the panels aren’t strong enough to withstand rifle fire. And some experts say schools, and perhaps parents, should be focusing on more common security risks, like people picking up students after school without authorization, than putting all their focus on defending against shooters.
It turns out there’s actually an app for organizing after-school pickups, and, to meet demand among school administrators, it has lately added a new feature, Terena Bell reports today: a panic button teachers and staff can use during a crisis such as an active shooter.