Parents Weigh in on ‘Bulletproof Backpacks’

Bulletproof backpacks for sale online. (WHO-HD)

IOWA – A controversial school supply item has parents on the fence about whether or not to supply their students with it.

Office Depot and Office Max are selling bulletproof backpacks this year. In Des Moines, you have to order the item online and pick it up at the store.

Online, the item varies in price between $120 to $500 or more.

Tabitha Collins said, “This scares me. My daughter is starting kindergarten this year… I can only get her a $10 backpack… but why would I want to get a bulletproof backpack when all it’s going to do is scare her even more.”

Josh D. Staple said, “It’s sad that these things need to be created. These are great if the subject is shooting from behind someone, however there is a lot of areas open in the front.”

Guard Dog is one company that sells bulletproof backpacks at Office Depot and Office Max.

Each backpack has a description of what it protects against. For example, if you read ‘Level III A Protection’ that means the backpack can withstand small weapons and handguns.

Elizabeth Caudle said, “It’s so disheartening that we live in a world that we have to worry about sending our kids to school, let alone that a bulletproof backpack even exists.”

Kristy Balvan Luiken said, “I totally would! However, our school doesn’t allow students to carry bags.”

According to the Iowa Department of Education, every district in the state regulates if students can or can’t have a bag in the classroom.

Johnston Community Schools Communications Director Laura Sprague said students K- 7th grade keep their backpacks in a cubby inside the classroom, while 8th–12th grade have the option to carry their bags or store it in a locker.

“Whether the backpack is stored in a cubby right in their classroom or it is with them on their body or by their desk in those higher secondary grades that backpack is very close if a parent is feeling like that is the best kind of protection,” Sprague said.

Ankeny Community Schools said it depends on the configuration of a building. However, sixth and seventh-grade students do not carry bags, while 10th through 12th-grade students do.

At Waukee Community Schools, sixth and seventh-grade students keep their bags in a locker during the day. High school students have the option to carry their bags throughout the day.

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