Back to School Safety, Part 2: Staying Safe at School | USCCA

My children started school last week, so we are already getting back into the swing of early mornings and backpack packing. Lunch box. Snack. Art supplies. Books. Water bottle. Hand sanitizer. Mask. Check on all the above!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Hi Beth,

I’m actually quite literally an expert in this area and I have to say I am very much against bullet resistant backpacks or panels for kids. First, it creates a false sense of security for the kid knowing they have it. some kids might take unnecessary risks knowing they have them. Second, what is the plan? Carry your backpack with books around slowing their escape or do you want them to stop and dump everything on the ground first then take the time to zip it up? Wouldn’t they be better running like hell rather than screwing around with their backpack? Third, an adult who’s hit while wearing a bullet resistant vest is typically incapacitated and writhing on the ground. Sure the first round got stopped, but now the kid is laying there for the shooter to walk over and ensure the next round kills them. Fourth, we can see from former shootings that in some cases, people hit still escaped because the shooter went on to other targets seeing blood. I worry that bullet resistant devices could only serve to draw attention if the shooter sees the child isn’t bleeding and laying there.

That said, I can understand the desire to want to protect them…but I just worry that instead of running for their life, my daughter and kids like her would be fumbling around with backpacks rather than running and I can’t justify what might be her safety with my peace of mind thinking I got her something that “might help”. I instead have become a major thorn in my school district’s side and a name they all know well. I have successfully forced them to implement some changes to the school and have scared them into revising their own policies and procedures. I hope to one day have them end the ban they have on concealed carry so that I can get teachers who choose to take on the responsibility to carry a firearm, be allowed.

Now, just for those of you out there wondering how I scared them into any of this…I offer my expertise for free and give them the worst case scenario and walk them through what a smart and prepared person would do. While I won’t describe it here, I will offer a similar worst case scenario I gave to my brother when he moved into his home and asked me what security measures he should implement. I walked around his single story home and showed him the best and easiest place to enter. I then told him I’d go into the babies room and pinch the child making them cry. Why? Simply put, because if you hear a noise, you’re likely to arm yourself and be prepared for anything. If you hear your youngest crying, you won’t likely walk in with a firearm and I could subdue or kill the adults that sleepily walk in to check on the child. I wait till someone walks in to check on the crying baby and kill or subdue them and rinse and repeat with the next. Shortly there after my brother had one hell of a security system and did mention he never went into his kids room unarmed in the middle of the night when he was crying and had a code word him or his wife would say into the baby monitor to let the other know it’s under control.

I am terrified that one day there will be a truly well planned school shooting and unless we allow teachers to carry, based on my estimates…it will be truly awful. We have been thankfully fortunate that all school shootings thus far have been so poorly planned. Even Columbine the murderers intended to use explosive and incendiary devices as their primary tool to kill. Thankfully their understanding of explosives was bad so the devices didn’t go off and they used firearms only. I simply can’t in good conscience recommend kids waste valuable time going for their backpacks rather than fleeing and most elementary schools have kids keep their backpacks elsewhere anyways. Older teens might have them at the desk…but they also might take unnecessary risks thinking they have protection…so all in all, I’m against them in general.

I completely understand your viewpoint on bullet resistant panels, but I assure you - we don’t believe they are “super hero capes” or fail-proof/fool-proof options, and we have trained our kiddos that escaping from a violent situation (like a mass murderer) is the best option… if it is an option. Unfortunately, even though the school system where my kids attend is supposed to implement the ALICE program under those circumstances, they are still teaching the kids to lock the classroom doors and hide under their desks. Since the students have their bookbags on their chairs now, those panels could potentially do some good, even as they sit there, untouched. Or perhaps the kids already have backpacks on, headed to the bus… then they can simply run without having to think about doing anything else. I guess we could both come up with endless scenarios, and, ultimately, it’s all contextual on whether any certain tool or options work or not… but the point is - education and training are the key. It’s not the tool (or tools) as much as it is the mindset for keeping children safe!

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Right on target. Two comments, regardless of school rules if shooting starts get out!!! This obviously applies to children old enough to be responsible enough. You have to decide when that is for each child. If the shooting is inside the building, look out the window. If no killer is seen, break the window and bail out. I can hear the school officials scream now. Once out run full speed to any cover (or concealment if necessary) and keep going for at least 2 blocks. You will, of course, shown them where to go. Then they call you. If they run to police, hands MUST be visible and they must follow commands. At any rate: Get Out, Get Out, Get Out!!!
A flashlight is a good idea. One I have carried for decades is . Not my only light but very small, bright enough and runs 18 hours. I used mine one night to get out of the woods when my main light died. Low cost for those on a budget and they go on sale too. Good for equipping several children when on a tight budget.

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