Bulletproof backpacks for back to school shopping.

BulletBlocker susanpai/Twitter (Fair Use) Remix by Samantha Grasso

Back-to-school shopping gets a hell of a lot more somber with kids needing bulletproof supplies

Is there no chance of coming back from bulletproof school supplies?

Jul 26, 2018, 8:34 am

IRL

Samantha Grasso 

Samantha Grasso

My favorite part of going back-to-school shopping as a child was getting to pick out all my school supplies—Lisa Frank folders, pre-sharpened pencils, glittery pencil boxes. When my mom would take my sister and I to the low-income supply drive, I’d furrow my brow at the woman handing me a plastic grocery bag of pre-packaged goodies, annoyed that I couldn’t just choose my favorites from a splayed-out selection. This was the only time I ever really got to choose what my parents bought for me as a kid, and it was fun.

But now, updated lists for back-to-school supplies across the U.S. serve as sobering reminders that children aren’t just preparing to learn math, make crafts, and have nap time. They’re getting ready for potential violence, and the photos posted by parents and shoppers of this season’s hottest bulletproof school supplies solidifies the role that bulletproof materials have in schools.

Across Twitter, people are sharing images of bulletproof backpacks and backpack inserts that they’ve come across or received.

“You know how sad it is to open up a kid’s backpack to grab his lunch and see a bulletproof shield? He’s in PRESCHOOL,” one Twitter user wrote, showing photos of what she identified to be a bulletproof backpack insert. “A preschooler should not have to be carrying this around in his backpack. Seeing this broke my heart.”

One person shared a photo of a bulletproof backpack her father had bought her for her to use at work.

“It’s heavy and I’m so angry that it’s even needed,” the Twitter user, Calla Hales, wrote.

Even months before school would start for many students, bulletproof backpacks were already on the move, even going out of stock on BulletBlocker, a bulletproof wares company.

https://twitter.com/susanpai/status/1005140786453852160

And across the U.S. news organizations are sharing pieces about gun shops selling backpack inserts, and bulletproof item manufacturers creating other school-related materials before kids go back in the fall, including ballistic shelters, and bulletproof door and window systems.

One school district, the Charleston County School District, is having bulletproof doors installed in a number of undisclosed schools, at no cost by manufacturer R2P, according to local music and culture publication Syllabus Mag. The district is reportedly the first in the country to launch such a program, and if it were to choose to replace all doors, it would require 8,000 to 10,000 doors at $4,000 a piece.

In November, a Florida private school went viral after announcing it would sell bulletproof backpack inserts for $120 each. The announcement came within days after the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting, and less than two months after the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S.

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2018, 8:34 am