NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA) — Bullet-resistant backpacks are growing with popularity as kids head back to school this fall.
In fact, they’re popping up in stores around the country.
“It’s definitely sad,” says Harley Crabb, a high school student in Bentonville. “Maybe a better safe than sorry idea. I don’t see why not.”
The backpacks may not look any different, but inside Sergeant Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department says they contain the same type of kevlar found in some police vests.
The light weight and flexible protective panel can be sewn into the backpack.
“The bulletproof or ballistic, bullet-resistant backpacks have been around for over ten years, but they’re just started to pick up popularity because of the number of shootings that we do have,” Page said. “You could pick that up, shield yourself and you can exit the room or exit that area. It will give you a little bit of extra protection, buy you some time to get away from that danger zone.”
KNWA reached out to local retailers asking if they sold these backpacks in Northwest Arkansas. While all said they do not have them on the shelves, stores like Walmart, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond sell them online.
Elaine Goseland says she would buy her grandson one.
“You think you send your kids to school to be safe and they’re taken care of, and you go to work and do your job, and don’t think about it. That’s not the case anymore. You have to say a prayer when they leave and pray they are safe all day long,” she said.
However, Goseland believes the whole concept is, “kind of disturbing, actually.”
The backpacks sell anywhere from $150 to several hundred dollars.
It’s an investment that could give parents peace of mind and and save lives.
“Hopefully they will never ever need it, but if they did at least they have something they can use to help them get out,” Page said.