Bulletproof backpacks part of parents’ back-to-school shopping lists

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KPIX) – Back-to-school shopping lists this year don’t just include pencils, binders, and notebooks — parents have also been purchasing bulletproof gear.

Bulletproof backpacks are now hitting some big box stores, including OfficeMax and Office Depot; and have been in high demand in the wake of the recent mass shootings across the country.

“I never thought this day would come when my child goes to school and it’s like he’s going to war,” said San Jose parent Masha Nakelchik. “It’s very sad, it’s very scary.”

Like many parents, the worst-case scenario has crossed Nakelchik’s mind of an active shooter stepping foot on her son’s school campus. However, she said she doesn’t believe a bulletproof backpack would help because she said kids don’t wear them every second of the day.

“That thought hasn’t crossed my mind, but what’s next, a bulletproof uniform?” she said. “You know, I don’t know what the solution is.”

But bulletproof gear doesn’t just come in the form of backpacks. Vy Tran is the founder and creator of East Palo Alto-based Wonder Hoodie, a bulletproof hoodie that protects the user’s chest as well as their head. She said sales have also increased for her hoodies.

“It’s a hoodie that has a bulletproof vest ingrained inside so you could zip it on and off,” said Tran. She said not only are parents grateful for her products, but teachers have also shown so much interest in them that she donates one to a public school teacher for every 10 hoodies she sells.

“I could only assume that families around America don’t feel safe right now and they’re looking for options,” Tran said. “If this is what it takes to feel safe then I’m helping out in some way, I will keep making my products.”

By Maria Medina, KPIX

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