HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Back to school shopping for many means new pencils and notebooks. Also making it to the list this year, bulletproof backpacks.
Although this item is sparking controversy, 22News found out just how in-demand this potentially lifesaving bag is.
“I was in an elementary school the day of Sandy Hook having lunch with my child, so could have been me,” said Teresa Malone.
Malone is the mother of two high school-aged students, and she said the thought of putting her children in bulletproof armor to go to school breaks her heart. But it’s a trend many parents are moving towards, following recent mass shootings across the country, especially ones taking place in the classroom.
The maker of one bulletproof backpack line says sales have spiked nearly 200 percent since the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, another maker saying sales have doubled over the past couple of days.
Big box stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond are also currently selling these backpacks in high demand. The Holyoke location doesn’t carry the bags in-store, but an associate said when you order, it will be delivered right to your door.
The bulletproof backpacks, being called a “consumer favorite” on one company’s website, offers the bags in all sizes with the smallest called the “Junior Pack” suggested for preschoolers. Something one local grandmother finds troubling.
“When I was a kid you bought barbie and just went in and bought a backpack for $2, $3 and you were fine,” said Joy Hines of South Hadley. “It’s very sad.”
Depending on where you look, these bulletproof bags retail for about $160 to $500.