The pink bulletproof rucksack that 5-year-old Jaliyah wears to school every day reaches almost down to her knees and weighs 3lbs even when empty, but for her Colorado father, the size and solidity are part of the attraction.There's a lot of money being made here.
"If you put it on her back, it almost covers her whole body," explains Demitric Boykin. "It was a very hard conversation to have but she knows that it's something that will keep her safe."
Lined with ballistic material that can stop a 9mm bullet travelling at 400 metres per second, the backpack is only one of a clutch of new products making their way into US schools in the wake of Newtown school massacre. As gun control legislation grinds to halt in Washington, a growing number of parents and teachers are taking matters into their own hands.
The Denver company that supplied Jaliyah's rucksack, Elite Sterling Security, has sold over 300 in the last two months and received inquiries from some 2,000 families across the US. It is also in discussion with more than a dozen schools in Colorado about equipping them with ballistic safety vests, a scaled-down version of military uniforms designed to hang in classroom cupboards for children to wear in an emergency....
Those behind this boom in school security are adamant they are not exploiting the fear, merely filling a growing need for safety.
AJ Zabadne, president of Elite Sterling Security, says his products should be seen as a routine precaution rather than something that would alarm children.
"It's like you find life jackets on ships or planes in case they go down," he says. "It's no different to having a seatbelt in a car."
28 April 2013
"Bulletproof uniforms" for grade school children
It never ends. Here are excerpts from a Guardian story: