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Austinite Invents Bulletproof Backpack Shield
School is traditionally considered a safe haven, not a place for deadly violence. The Newtown, Connecticut shooting has several parents rethinking their children's safety.
KEYE TV looked into a relatively unknown product called the Backpack Shield. The bullet resistant insert is manufactured in Austin. The creator said it works best when the child crouches down and covers their heart and head with the shield. But some mental health professionals said this product may do more harm than good.
Backpack Shield President Kerry Clark demonstrated how his invention can stop a bullet shot from 16 feet away.
“If you look at the other side, it just leaves a little bulge,” he said after shooting a 9mm handgun at his product.
Clark created the Backpack Shield in 2007, right after the Virgina Tech shooting massacre.
“I heard some teachers were saying, lets hide in the corner and that was it,” Clark explained. “That's not going to cut it with my kid. It's literally like a fish hitting a net, this being stronger than steel, traps the bullet.”
But not every bullet. The DuPont Kevlar armored panel is designed to stop any handgun rounds, not bullets from a rifle.
“It sounds like a good concept,” said Kristen Ripperda, who has two children. “But I know a two-year-old would not follow instructions in the middle of chaos. I think it would be really hard to implement.”
“I was shocked that such a thing existed,” said K.H. Kim, the Founder and Clinical Director of Pediatric Psychotherapy Associates.
Kim has worked with children for more than 20 years. She does not recommend the backpack shield for anyone under 18-years-old. She said instead of comforting children, it may cause them more anxiety.
“If you don't train them on how to use it, it's not effective, sits on the floor,” she explained. “I think for it to be effective, you have to train kids, and I think the training could be traumatic.”
“That's like saying wearing a seat belt in case of a car accident creates anxiety,” Clark countered. “I feel like this is a seat belt for the big wide world out there.”
The Backpack Shield costs $235 dollars. Clark said in the last five years, he has sold more than 200. For more information on the product, go to www.backpackshield.com.
By Katherine Stolp