SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Bulletproof school backpacks are now on sale at major retailers, including one in the Upstate.
Guard Dog Security is the company behind the bulletproof backpacks. They specialize in personal security and said the backpacks are an extension of that.
Office Depot Assistant Store Manager Michael Ortega said the back to school shopping will begin soon and this year there has been interests in one big-ticket item.
“This is the Guard Dog Pro Shield 2,” he showed 7 News.
The backpack is advertised as “bulletproof.”
The store in Spartanburg only carries two models, but Ortega said there are more colors and styles available online.
Ortega showed 7 News the backpacks and the bulletproof panel that is sewed into the back of all the book bags.
“What exactly is the panel made of?” 7 News Reporter Stefany Bornman asked.
“It’s very tightly woven fabric,” Guard Dog Security founder Yasir Sheikh said. “It’s similar to what people would consider or know as Kevlar.”
Kevlar is used in tactical gear worn by law enforcement officers.
The bulletproof panel, which has been tested, can stop a handgun bullet but not a high-velocity rifle, according to Sheikh.
Still, it’s lightweight enough to be put in book bags.
“It weighs just a few ounces more than a traditional back pack,” Ortega said.
The book bags range between $120 – $300. Some parents feel that is a small price to pay for the extra sense of security.
“I can appreciate, from a parents perspective, to try to protect your child more,” Elizabeth Gonzalez said.
Former teacher Tabitha Vuljaniz told 7 News the technology would be useless if, God forbid, there was an active shooter in a school.
“You’re just getting them all safe there and quiet. You might put up furniture or something like that, but I’m not going to think to go get your backpack and then get over here,” Vuljaniz told 7 News.
Several schools have banned the bulletproof backpacks, but there are no policies against the book bags in Anderson, Greenville or Spartanburg counties.
A portion of the proceeds from the backpack go to fund Make Our Schools Safe. The organization was started following the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.