Wisconsin school officials consider bulletproof backpacks

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WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — School officials in Wisconsin aren't so sure bulletproof backpacks are an answer to possible violence in the classroom.

BlueStone Safety Products' bulletproof backpack inserts are lightweight panels about the size of a laptop that are designed to deflect bullets, WAOW-TV reported. The inserts costs from $118 to $200. The company also sells $800 protection vests for teachers and staff.

"We don't want to see any more victims. We want survivors," said Becky Xheka, CEO of BlueStone.

One issue with the inserts is that students don't always have access to their backpacks, said Wisconsin Rapids School Superintendent Craig Broeren.

"Then they are worried about finding their backpack before getting out," he said.

Broeren said he would get the inserts if police recommended them.

Parent Erin Salamone, of Wausau, said the inserts give her "a peace of mind." Parent Jessica Szitta said it's unfortunate the inserts even had to be created.

"It very much makes me sad that we live in an age where you have to have bulletproof backpacks to go to school," Szitta said.

Broeren said he believes there are broader issues that need to also be addressed when it comes to school safety.

"This is a community or societal issue, and I think addressing it is much broader than just more and more armor or more and more firearms," Broeren said. "Addressing it as a societal issue that needs more than just litigation. It needs prevention."

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Information from: WAOW-TV, http://www.waow.com


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