As I sat down to write my article for this month, I wanted to write about the new school year, providing words of wisdom to help everyone start off the year on a positive foot. But I keep thinking about a question many of you may be getting from parents. I can’t get it out of my mind. While my mind says to write about the new school year, my heart says to write about this topic.
Your parents may want to know if they should buy a bulletproof backpack…really. How scary is this? It makes me so sad. On the other hand, I understand why.
A bullet-proof backpack manufacturer was on CNBC recently. He said that while they have been marketing their backpacks since 2007 (following the Virginia Tech campus shooting), there has been a 200 percent increase in sales over the past year.
Please know these bulletproof backpacks only protect against handguns; they are not rifle-proof. The material used to make the bags is considered a soft body armor, which is not resistant to all bullets.
Keeping children safe is about more than buying expensive gear that may not be effective against an active shooter. Children (everyone) need to pay attention to their surroundings, trust their instincts, and learn the school’s emergency procedures.
This year my own school opened up with a full team of armed security guards. These guards are in our school during our hours of operation. Many schools practice active shooter training so the staff and children are fully aware of how to respond. In our school we announce to the children, “There is an uninvited guest in the school” and our staff participates in annual ALICE (Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) training.
It is so difficult for me to get my head around this, but this is the world we live in today and this is what needs to be done.
I wish you all a happy, smooth and safe start of your school year.