(NBC) – As families get ready to start the school year, many are facing a difficult decision: do kids need to carry a bulletproof shield as they head back to class?
There is a growing trend of bulletproof backpacks and psychologists say it sends a certain message to students.
Like pencils and notebooks, for some families bulletproof backpacks have become an essential school supply.
Manufacturers are reporting a spike in sales—as much as 200%—as kids head back to campus.
President of Guard Dog Security Yasir Sheikh said, “We’re not saying, ‘Buy a backpack, it’ll solve everything.’ We’re saying, ‘This will put you in a better position in the case of a school shooting.’”
But psychologists warn the bags can carry a mixed message. “The plus side of handing your child a bulletproof backpack is in some way you’re conveying to them implicitly that you want them to feel safe,” explained Dr. Dave Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “As a downside, it’s that we’re reminding children of dangers of the world that they wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with, especially for young kids, elementary schoolers.”
For parents, it is a dangerous sign of the changing times. Aaron Lopez is a father of two. He said, “Considering when we were growing up it was all about who had the coolest backpacks and Five Star binder and now you’re having to consider having a bullet-resistant backpacks.”
It’s a decision, some fear, which could mean the difference between life and death.