Christopher Wagner laid out a simple scenario.
“Imagine sitting around the dining room table before the first day of school and going over supplies,” he said. “Green is for math, red is for social studies, yellow is for grammar. And then saying, ‘This is a bullet-resistant backpack.’ I can’t fathom having a conversation with my kid about that.”
Wagner is a retired police chief, past president of the state association of chiefs and designs training and accreditation for school police officers. If he can’t have that conversation, who can?
But while Wagner was somewhat skeptical about rushing to buy a bulletproof backpack online or at Office Depot or Office Max — which are selling them at stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — he wouldn’t rule it out as a must-have accessory.
“Any ideas that keep staff and students safe at school are worth looking at,” Wagner said.
Wagner’s open mind was welcome news to Yasir Sheikh, president of Guard Dog Security, the Florida company that makes a popular brand of bulletproof backpack.
“The conversation about active shooters is already going on in schools,” Sheikh told NJ Advance Media on Monday. “Protection is on the mind of students and parents when they go into school. They’re looking for solutions.”
Guard Dog Security’s ProShield Scout backpacks are the first the company has marketed for back-to-school shoppers.
“It was in response to a request for a backpack that was smaller in size, lighter in weight and less in price,” Sheikh said.
They come in a variety of colors including teal, pink, gray and black. Prices range from $119 for the Proshield II — Pink multimedia bulletproof backpack with built-in auxiliary charging port — to Proshield Flex, double-paneled bulletproof backpack with charging bank for $299.