Bulletproof backpacks in U.S.

Published 21 August 2007

What’s the world coming to: Massachusetts company does brisk business in bulletproof backpacks for school-bound kids

Nothing tells us how long it has been since we were in school than this message: Parents, it is almost back to school time — have you picked up a bulletproof backpack for your kids yet? Yes, yes. Danvers, Massachusetts-based MJ Safety Solutions has developed a bulletproof backpack, and the company says their product offers added protection for students and parents worried about school violence. Weapons experts doubt the backpacks will do much to make schools safer. “In my opinion, it’s a one-in-a-gazillion chance that that thing will work,” said Oliver Salvador, who runs a private security and consulting company in Edmonton, Canada. The creators of the backpack, however, say they are giving parents an extra chance to protect their kids. “At least they’ll have their backpack that they can hold up in front of them,” said Joe Curran, who along with his business partner Mike Pelonzi has been selling the new product online since last week. “We’re just trying to give kids a defensive tool to use in case something does happen,” Curran said of the backpacks, which sell for $175 US.

The idea came out of concern following the Columbine shootings in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999. After several years of developing the product, Curran and Pelonzi started supplying the backpacks, which offer a level of protection similar to a bulletproof vest used by police, to friends. Since they started selling online last week, they have sold out of their initial stock of several hundred backpacks and are now ordering a new shipment.