My youngest child starts kindergarten this month. That means, for the first time in our family history, all three of our kids will be in school at the same time! While I have been dreaming of some extra, child-free time to get things done during the day, I have also been facing the long lists of school supplies and other necessities that seem to add up the weeks before the first school bell rings. Let’s see: With one senior in high school, one elementary school child and one kindergartner, that means we are looking at some new shoes, new clothes and new backpacks. We’ll also need roughly 36 pencils, 11 composition notebooks, 10 glue sticks, seven pocket folders, six highlighters, three packs of 3×5 cards, two packs of Post-it notes, one scientific calculator, one USB flash drive … and three bulletproof backpack panels.
In all seriousness, my kids may be toting around some items that other kids don’t necessarily have. My 17-year-old is driving herself to school this year. She has a vehicle packed with safety gear, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a knife, a multi-tool, a hand-crank radio, jumper cables, tire sealant and an emergency blanket. You know … the basics! And as soon as she gets a bit of training with a tourniquet, that’s going in her backpack as well. Ultimately, I’d rather her have a lot of tools she doesn’t need than need a lot of tools she doesn’t have.
And speaking of backpacks, all three kiddos are equipped with lunch, snacks, school supplies, the required emergency change of clothes and a BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel. Why? Tragically, schools (and kids) have been under attack. And only a few years ago (and just a few miles from our home), a crazed man with a firearm held five girls hostage at our local middle school. My kids’ school! Bad things can happen anywhere at any time to anyone. And a lightweight, ballistic panel (made from the same material as a bulletproof vest) inserted into something my kids have to carry around (or at least have nearby) nearly all day provides a possible means for some extra protection.
Tom Nardon, president of BulletSafe, maker of bulletproof panels, vests and other gear, is ready for the upcoming school season. “This is the season for protecting students, and this is when people shop for bulletproof backpack panels,” he says. “Customers who buy these are typically looking to protect their children when they either enter a school in a dangerous district or when they leave for college in the big city. Either way, $99 is a great price for the peace of mind a BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel provides. It’s easy to use and fits in almost all backpacks, and it will stop even the most powerful handguns.”
When I first considered getting bulletproof inserts for the kids’ backpacks, I asked my oldest daughter what she thought. I said to her, “So … if I purchased a bulletproof panel…”
“…would I use it? YES!” She both finished my question and answered it. It’s not that she is frightened or uncomfortable at her school, but she understands that it’s just another way to be better prepared for danger. And in our household, we talk a lot about being prepared and being safe!
We don’t want our children to have a false sense of hope or somehow believe that their backpacks will completely shield them from all gunfire. Ultimately, a panel may cover less than 25 percent of their bodies. But when worn or carried, that could be the 25 percent that covers some important organs! And with some extra training with our three kiddos, we know that a bulletproof panel provides an option. Under dire circumstances, options are a good thing.
Undoubtedly, education in safety measures is the most important factor here. I believe training can save lives and is definitely worth teaching your children — bulletproof panels or not! But just like with all the other emergency gear, medical kits and even self-defense training we present to our children, our most sincere hope is that they never have to use them.
About Beth Alcazar
Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column as well as Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.