Bulletproof backpacks, a new line of defense

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Lockdown…Lockdown….Lockdown!

These are the words we hear at Judson High School that instantly makes fear set in. We don’t know if it’s just a drill or if something is actually happening. All you can do is try to keep calm and listen to the breathing of your friends next to you in the dark, silent classroom – your heartbeat pounding in your eardrums.

We live in a world where school shootings are not surprising anymore. When we hear of another, we mourn and pray for those who were involved, but also bask in the relief that it was not us. One day that may not be true.

When I was back-to-school shopping with my mom, we went to OfficeMax. Walking around the store, I saw the usual supplies: sparkly journals, funny pencil pouches, and mountains of pencils and pens. But at the back of the store was the backpack display and its bright words caught my attention.

Bulletproof backpacks.

My first reaction was utter shock. I couldn’t believe they existed and had their own section in the store. However, that disbelief quickly turned into anger. I do not understand how we got into a world where people had to come up with these ideas. 

School shootings have been happening for several years now and all I seem to see are ways to protect ourselves. We have accepted the threat and are now just finding ways to prepare ourselves for when it happens.

Dozens of people have been injured and even killed due to a lone gunman in a public place. Bulletproof backpacks are simply another line of defense that each individual can have. Several companies have developed backpacks that are bulletproof and even some that transform into a vest. These customizations add another thought to the minds of parents when they are buying school supplies – what kind of bulletproof backpack is best for their child?

Moral and ethical questions come up when contemplating these items: Why do we need them? Is this how the world really is? What message does this send to students, teachers, and parents?

School should not be a place where we need armor. We come here to learn, study, and grow. There should not be worry about getting caught in crossfire.