Is a bullet-proof backpack on your back-to-school shopping list?

It’s back-to-school shopping time, but while most parents are looking for typical sturdy, kid-proof merchandise, some are choosing gear that is bulletproof.

The Office Depot store in West Chester Twp.’s Voice of America Shopping Centre this week was offering a bullet-proof school backpack among it’s usual, colorful array of book bags.

And student backpacks are also the focus of a new security policy elsewhere in Butler County’s Hamilton Schools that will restrict students’ use of their packs in the coming school year.

Office Depot’s “Guard Dog Security ProShield II Bulletproof Backpack” sells for $131 and comes with a “bullet-proof certificate” according to the product description tag attached the backpack hanging among the traditional and colorful, ballistic shielded book bags.

“Be protected, be prepared with the most practical, comfortable bullet-proof backpack in the world,” read the attached tag, which also touted the bag’s “ballistic threat” testing that showed the bag stopping five gun blasts with “0 penetrations.”

MORE: Hamilton joins other area districts in asking for school security tax hike

Employees at the store said the bag is usually sold via Office Depot’s online site but said the anti-ballistic bag was among a few returned to the retail location by customers who had previously purchased the backpack online.

The specially designed book bags, which weigh slightly more than regular backpacks, first began to appear on the market after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary – in Newtown, Conn. — school shooting massacre that left 26 school children and adults dead.

This past school year saw high-profile, armed attacks on Florida and Texas high schools that left dozens dead and wounded. And in 2016 Butler County’s Madison Junior and Senior High School saw a student wound three classmates by firing a handgun in the school’s cafeteria.

The bags are just a small part of sweeping local and national efforts by schools to transform into more hardened targets for armed attackers.

Hamilton School officials – and those in other Butler County school systems – cite the deadly attacks for changes in their schools’ policies on students and their backpacks.

The city school system has been a focal point in recent months of security discussions, with plans to arm some school staffers, joining a school security tax effort to convince local voters to pay for more security and pressure from Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones to improve safety.

When classes open next week at the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, students will now be required to store their backpacks in their lockers during class time.

“In May, Hamilton High School worked with the Department of Homeland Security to review our daily procedures and security protocols,” Principal John Wilhelm said.

“One of the decisions we made from recommendations and our internal discussions with staff was to require students to store backpacks in their lockers. Backpacks have not been banned. However, we are requiring students to place their backpacks in their locker prior to first period,” said Wilhelm.

In response to complaints on social media about the new policy, Wilhelm wrote “if anything, we have been remiss in not requiring this sooner. Like anything new, we will work with students to facilitate the change.”

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