George Gulla, dean of students and head of school security at FCS, told CNN that the ballistic panels can be inserted inside of backpacks to provide students in preschool through high school "another level of protection in the event of an active shooter."
Even though FCS has never had a shooting incident on campus, Gulla explains that the school is taking no chances. He told CNN, "The teachers are trained to instruct the students to use their backpacks as a shield to protect themselves."
"It's just a tool," Gulla told the Miami Herald. "I'd rather be prepared for the worst than be stuck after saying 'Wow, I wish we would've done that.'"
Gulla hopes this product will give parents, teachers and administrators confidence in the safety of their students. "We thought, yeah, let's offer it to anyone who wants it," he said. "It's not required. But if it gives you extra peace of mind…"
The online order form shows that each panel costs $120. According to the Miami Herald, the panels are the size of a binder and can withstand .44 Magnum and .357 SIG bullets. The panels cannot protect against rifles.
"While books and stuff in your backpack may stop a bullet, they're not designed to," Cejas said. "I wouldn't bet my life on it."
School security expert Kenneth Trump (no relation to President Trump) told CNN that a "quick fix" like bulletproof panels is not a sustainable solution to the issue of gun violence.
"The first and best line of defense is a well-trained staff and student body," he explained. "If you need a bulletproof backpack, don't you need a bulletproof front pack, headgear and bulletproofing the rest of your body down to your toes?"
"You're bypassing grade school and jumping straight to grad school before you mastered the basics," Trump told the Miami Herald. "It's out of the norm, but what is the norm?"
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