Parents Can Buy 'Peace of Mind' at Fla. School for $120
Via a bulletproof backpack insert that some are questioning
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2017 8:27 AM CST
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Alex Cejas' insert slips easily into a child's backpack.   (Getty Images/fstop123)

(Newser) – A Miami private school's store is now open, but this year, in addition to mascot-themed athletic wear, students can soup up their backpacks, too. Or rather their parents can, because the backpack insert at the nondenominational Florida Christian School costs $120, reports the Miami Herald. That's because it's bulletproof, the newest security measure taken by the school after 2012's Sandy Hook massacre. "I'd rather be prepared for the worst than be stuck after saying, 'Wow, I wish we would've done that,'" says George Gulla, the school's security chief. Since Gulla came on board, the school, which has students from preschool age through high school seniors, has also put in place security cameras, easily identifiable security guards, and even shooter drills where students are taught to hold their backpacks in front of their bodies to "protect [their] center mass," Gulla explains.

Enter parent Alex Cejas, who is offering thin, soft-armor backpack inserts made by his company, Applied Fiber Concepts. No thicker than a binder, the insert is meant to stop bullets from smaller pistols and revolvers (though not more powerful weapons) and offer "peace of mind," says Cejas. The Washington Post cites products geared toward schools that have emerged since Sandy Hook, with manufacturers producing everything from bulletproof backpacks and binder inserts to writing tablets that can double as shields. But a security expert tells the Herald in the schools he's studied, it's a breakdown in the school's procedures or human error that usually causes or worsens incidents, not a lack of high-tech security gear. He also says the arrangement Cejas' company has with the school is "highly unusual"—parents can print the order form right from the school's website.

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