Bulletproof Backpacks

The latest stir of school safety proves just how dystopian things are becoming.


Zack, Writer

Internet personality and celebrity Jake Paul proposed a five-step plan to stop school shootings, releasing a video in which he visited Stoneman Douglas High School and interviewed survivors of February 14’s deadly shooting. In addition, he also interviewed Senator Marco Rubio with a plan to end tragedies like it in the future. Of these steps, one stood out to me as noteworthy.

YouTube celebrity Jake Paul proposed five steps to end school shootings, and one of them highlights a problem we haven’t addressed yet.

Paul proposed that school backpacks and laptop cases be fitted with bulletproof shields to be used as cover in the event of a shooting. I don’t disagree with that suggestion; in fact, I think it’s a great idea. However, issues arise when one realizes just how close we are to a full-fledged dystopian reality. Additionally, a school is the last place we want kids to be afraid of, and in our efforts to alleviate that, we’re making it a scarier place. Bulletproof backpacks, while certainly effective, won’t make kids feel safer at all. It’ll do the opposite.

The more safety precautions we implement into our schools (more armed resource officers, stricter checks on backgrounds and belongings, bulletproof school supplies, etc.), the less safe and secure our kids will feel. This problem has been brought up before on the scale of locker examinations and backpack checks, but it’s being lifted to entire new heights with this proposal.

As touched on, the safety of kids in school would be undeniably increased if this proposal takes effect, with kids being able to hide behind their backpacks during a shooting and stay unharmed. However, the point being made here isn’t about how safe they’re going to be; it’s about how safe they’re going to feel. Students have been raised to believe that school is a worry-free, comfortable environment, a place they don’t have to fear or have concerns about. But as we roll out stricter belonging checks, increased armed security, and of course, bulletproof backpacks, they’ll be more on the fence of, “Why do we need this much if we’re so safe?” It’s a troubling paradox, and it seems that not enough people are bringing it up.

The mere idea of bulletproof backpacks sounds like a part of a dystopian future novel, and yet we’ve gotten to the point where it’s being rightly considered in our modern reality. We’re living in a world today where we’ve accepted the fact that we can’t stop shootings, so we need to take the steps to keep people safe in the event of one. If you really think about it, this is the plot of a dystopian novel just waiting to happen. Gun control might forever be an unlimited debate, and other discussions like mental health evaluations and purchasing age could very well stay unresolved. We’ve basically acknowledged this, and we’re taking the precautions necessary to ensure that our kids stay safe. It saddens me that our society has changed into this secure lock of bulletproof accessories and security around every corner.

Schools used to be places of comfort and solidarity, but they’re turning into literal fortresses.

As I said, I agree with the idea of bulletproof backpacks completely, but there needs to be more awareness about what these kinds of precautions mean for our kids and for our society. I wouldn’t be surprised if in ten years or so, bulletproof umbrellas, clothes, textbooks, and other amenities existed to further increase safety in our schools. It’s a dangerous world we live in today, but how dangerous it is strongly differs from how dangerous it feels. And with bulletproof backpacks possibly becoming the new norm in schools, this is undeniable.