ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With the start of school quickly approaching, many parents are turning to a new product to protect their children from a worst case scenario – bullet proof backpacks.
As mass shooting continue across our country – so do the sales for the protective accessories, spiking to nearly 300 percent ahead of this upcoming school year.
While, it’s an investment many parents are turning to, others wonder if using them is a reaction to fear rather than a legitimate threat.
“It kind of seems over the top, but people are getting scared,” Rochester resident Beverly Bauer said. “I guess its better to be prepared than nothing.”
You’ve most likely seen marketing for the latest back to school trend, from online stores like Bullet Blocker, Guard Dog, TuffyPacks and ArmorMe, to major retailers like Office Depot, Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond.
“If I heard a gunshot, I would dive to the ground and see if there’s a bigger solid object,” 17-year-old Anna Reimer said. “It depends how big these back packs are I would try to hid behind it.”
But the question for some Rochester residents: is it a legitimate concern or just perpetuating fear?
“I think it could instill fear, because we don’t know where the next mass shooting would be,” Reimer continued. “But I also think you could take a proactive step.”
“Right now its probably a fear tactic,” Bauer said. “But who knows what tomorrow will bring or even today”
“I guess the fear is already present if you feel its necessary to buy your child a Kevlar backpack,” Seth Sheldon said. “Seems like paranoia to me.”
Fillmore County Sheriff John DeGeorge says its hard to say whether or not parents need to spend up-to hundreds of dollars on the backpacks.
“Is that fear that we are kind of generating or is it really something we should consider,” Sheriff DeGeorge said. “You, that’s really an individual decision for each parent.”
And will it even make a difference?
“I wouldn’t think so, you’re only wearing them to and from class,” Sheldon continued. “Whats the next step from there? All the kids are fully armored? No.”
“It’s hard to put a real value on something like that. Because its so, you don’t know what’s going to happen and you always weigh that out,” Sheriff DeGeorge said.
Sheriff DeGeroge adds that the best thing a parent can do is to make sure their children understand their schools’ safety plan if an incident does occur.
Locally, bullet resistant backpacks can be found in store at Office Max.