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More and more children are going to school sporting bulletproof backpacks

The trend of bulletproof backpacks is continuing to gain momentum as the school year progresses. (Image source: WLNY-TV video screenshot)

As the 2018-19 school year progresses, the trend of bulletproof backpacks and shields is continuing to gain momentum.

What are the details?

New York resident Maya Rockafellow is concerned for her first grade son's safety so much that she's been one of many to purchase a bulletproof backpack, according to a report by WLNY-TV.

According to the station, bulletproof backpack sales have surged at retailers across the U.S., and even stores like Office Depot and Walmart have begun carrying the item.

Rockafellow told the station that she chose to outfit her son with the body armor for his safety, and for her peace of mind.

"It's just happening more and more," she said, pointing to school-related killings. "It's terrifying."

Rockafellow purchased the $99 "Bulletsafe," which is a 1.5-pound bulletproof panel insert for a child's backpack.

"I just wanted something that he could have on him," Rockafellow explained. "When I described to him what it was I said, 'This will actually help you if you hold on to it.'"

What about backpack sales?

According to the report, sales of the Bulletsave have surged more than 600 percent since the 2017-18 school year.

However, while — as advertised — the shield stopped a bullet from a .45-caliber handgun as well as a shotgun slug, it did nothing to stop the bullets of an AR-15.

When WLNY tested the panel at Rockland Indoor Shooting and Education Range in Pearl River, New York, the AR-15 round went through the panel and three books.

One such backpack shield from Veterans MFG did pass the test, however. It's twice as heavy as the Bulletsafe, and three times the price at $300, but protects against bullets from an AR-15 as well as an AK-47.

After 2012's Sandy Hook Elementary School mass killing, sales of bulletproof backpacks spiked.

Ken Larson of Denver, thought it was a no-brainer to buy his child a bulletproof pack after the Connecticut mass murder.

"My son's life is invaluable," Larson said. "If I can get him a backpack for $200 that makes him safer, I don't even have to think about that. Where is my credit card?"

In 2012, a spokesperson for Massachusetts-based company Bullet Blocker — which has been selling such products since 2007 — said that sales tripled in the days following the Sandy Hook attack.

What else?

Bulletproof backpacks, while undoubtedly popular, don't even have a corner on the school safety market anymore.

In May, a concerned father launched his own business designing bulletproof desks for schools.

John Birdsell of Flagstaff, Arizona, founded School Security Solutions in response to the need to protect school children.

“I just thought of my own son’s safety and for the safety of the other kids, this seems like a very simple solution,” Birdsell said.

In June, a graduating eighth-grade class received bulletproof ballistic shields for their backpacks as a graduation gift from a local company.

As late as September, an Israeli military hardware company saw a surge in the need for bulletproof backpack orders.

“In two months, we have sold hundreds and are gearing up to increase production rates to 500 units per month,” chief executive Snir Koren told Agence France-Presse.

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