Stats on school violence and the rise of bulletproof backpacks

Back To School

(WTNH) — Another wave of mass shootings in public places, and just as parents are doing their back to school shopping.

That is the pitch for ArmorMe, a company that makes backpacks with kevlar panels.

Ben Thompson is about to be a senior at South Windsor High School and he is a brand representative for ArmorMe.

“This is the same level of protection that police officers use in their tactical vests,” Thompson said.

Riedman, David, and Desmond O’Neill. “CHDS – K-12 School Shooting Database.” Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Aug. 20, www.chds.us/ssdb.

The backpack unzips to either cover more of your front, or cover your front and back at the same time.

JT Lewis (R) is running for State Senate. Lewis is the brother of Jesse Lewis, one of 20 first graders killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. JT has an ArmorMe back and agrees it provides peace of mind, but he’s worried that’s all it provides.

“I have one. Obviously going back to school after experiencing a tragedy such as Sandy Hook, you want to feel as secure as possible,” Lewis said.

He added, “It’s more of a false sense of security, because the guns that the shooters would use in a school shooting would pierce right through it.”

The kevlar in the backpacks can stop a handgun round, but not a bullet from an assault rifle.

If you do want one, there is a problem, however. You cannot go online and order one in Connecticut. Lewis said they had to buy their bulletproof backpacks in New York; it’s not legal to sell them in Connecticut.

That’s because mass shooters, like the one who killed 9 people in Dayton earlier this month, wear kevlar when they go their killing sprees, hoping they can survive when police return fire. That’s why, in Connecticut, you cannot order kevlar over the internet. There are a handful of stores where you can buy them in person. For the ArmorMe spokesman, tragedies like Sandy Hook make the backpack essential.

“That really hits home to me because, obviously no one wants to see children dying,” Thompson said.

The brother of a Sandy Hook victim would rather strengthen the schools. That his signature issue as the 19 year-old is now running for state senate.

“And the way I look at it, if the school was a little more secure, maybe my brother would be alive, Less casualties, maybe none at all. If there was a guard there, if the doors were locked correctly,” Lewis said.

We polled our News 8 viewers on Facebook about what they thought about Bulletproof Backpacks:

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