TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A backpack insert that’s advertised as bulletproof protection for children is in high demand following this month’s shooting in Parkland.
On Valentine’s Day, a 19-year-old former student went into Stoneman Douglas High School with a gun and opened fire, killing 17 people.
Since that day, a company in Ohio says interest in the bulletproof backpack shield has gone through the roof.
The product is 10 by 14, a quarter-inch thick and weighs just one pound. It comes in a hard or soft version and is designed to fit inside a student’s backpack.
“You basically just slide them, just where your laptop may go,” said Matt White of ShotStop Ballistics.
According to White, the backpack shield blocks bullets from handguns and some rifles, but not all guns.
“This will stop six, at least six, rounds of a handgun,” he said.
He says more parents are asking about the insert and ordering the product following the Parkland shooting, as well as the incident in Ohio last week where a 13-year-old boy shot himself in a middle school.
“We’ve had, I would say, 100 to 200 percent increase certainly in response,” White said.
But critics believe the backpack shield just creates more fear and anxiety.
“No, it’s not right. Come on, the schools are safe and we don’t need to be wearing anything to school or anything,” said Dave Spearing, who has grandkids in school.
Recent high school graduate Kendall Kubus sees it differently.
“I think it’s protecting us if there is a scenario, we have that protection and parents have that in their mind that, ‘OK, my child is there, they are going to be safer,'” she said.
White says the bulletproof product was originally made as a clipboard for police officers to use as protection during traffic stops. The company came up with the idea of using it to protect children at school last year. They call it another layer of safety.
“What we want to make sure is that kids are as safe as they possibly can be,” White said.
The backpack insert costs $110. The company says it cannot hold bullets from weapons like an AR-15.