Black folks live in a world where schools, unfortunately, find it necessary to armor our children.
Florida Christian School—a private school in Miami—is selling bulletproof panels for their students’ backpacks, according to CNN. The decision comes in an effort to bolster kids from pre-K through grade 12 with “another level of protection in the event of an active shooter,” George Gulla, dean of students and head of school security at FCS, told CNN via email.
Each panel costs $120, and teachers are shown how to use them as part of Gulla’s safety training. Though there’s reportedly never been a shooting incident at the school, “teachers are trained to instruct the students to use their backpacks as a shield to protect themselves,” Gulla said.
The five deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history have occurred in the last decade, CNN noted. In 2012, a mass shooting left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., prompting The University of Maryland-Eastern Short to purchase 200 bulletproof whiteboards from Hardwire LLC, a company based in Pocomoke City, Md. In October, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed at least 50 and injured 400 others when he fired from the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay hotel into the crowd of Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival.
And just last weekend, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., killing 26 people and injuring 20 others. Half of those killed were children, NBC News reported.
But while the bulletproof industry is booming, preparation for disaster goes beyond a “quick fix,” school security expert Kenneth Trump (who is not related to the president) said to CNN. He doesn’t believe available products are “well focused for a child-centered environment,” he added.
“The first and best line of defense is a well-trained staff and student body,” Trump stated. “If you need a bulletproof backpack, don’t you need a bulletproof front pack, headgear, and bulletproofing the rest of your body down to your toes?”