WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Don’t be surprised to see school bags with a little more padding then normal this school year. Parents across the county have made the item a top priority on their annual back-to-school shopping lists.
Office Depot, a major seller of the bags, said they sold out within a week and inventory is light as parents continuously look to purchase them.
Not everybody is convinced the backpacks are the best way to protect children.
“We’re living in a Mad Max world, yes it’s a good step to take. At least there’s something that’s defensive that might give you a chance," said Manny Lloyd. "I think we should really evaluate why we have these as an option or anything that should even be considered.”
Many mass shootings involve high-caliber weapons, and while the Guard Dog Security bags can protect up to a .44 caliber bullet, the fear is that it won’t be enough. Another major concern is that in many middle and elementary schools, students must put their bags in lockers or cubbies during the day.
Some parents believe they don’t have much of a choice, considering nobody knows when a shooting might happen. It is that fear that some believe drive the sales of the backpacks.
“There are a lot of people who are scared, there are a lot of people who are unsure and don’t know how they should proceed," said Lloyd. “If this gives them some level of comfort, as absurd as it might seem, I think there’s a lot of fear driving people to buy them.”
The backpacks are sold for about $200 and weigh only a pound more than average bags. Bulletproof bags have been sold over the past few years, but this is the first time Guard Dog Security has geared their product toward schools.
When asked about the product, David Spencer of New Hanover County Schools said they have not endorsed or recommended the use of the book bags.