This spring, as NPR reported, the U.S. Education Department released a report alleging that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools… reported at least one incident involving a school-related shooting.”
A subsequent investigation by NPR journalists, however, found the number to be greatly exaggerated. NPR reached out to every single school mentioned in the report, only to confirm 11 reported incidents.
Regardless of statistics, fear of school shootings appears to be growing among American parents. It has grown so much that it has, apparently, created a market for bulletproof, military-grade backpacks. As Quartz reported today, an Israeli company, Masada Armour, which specializes in designing bulletproof vests, helmets, and uniforms, has developed a bulletproof backpack for U.S. school kids.
Orders from the United States are pouring in.
Interest in Masada Armour’s bulletproof backpacks, according to Quartz, surged following the Parkland shooting. Since the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the company has increased bulletproof backpack production to more than 500 per month.
According to Masada Armour‘s official website, the backpack “transforms into bulletproof vest in less than two seconds.”
“Following recent shooting incidents in schools and universities in the U.S, MASADA has decided to develop a highly awaited protective solution for students, to enhance their protection and boost their confidence. MASADA has developed the Protective Backpack. An Armored backpack, which has innocent looking from the outside, but when needed it transforms into front and back bulletproof vest.”
Amid growing school safety concerns, NPR noted, 53 new school safety laws were passed in the U.S. in 2018. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there are more than 96,000 public schools in the United States. ACLU’s investigation, just like NPR‘s findings, contradicts the U.S. Education Department’s report which alleged that 240 school shootings had taken place in 2015-16.
An employee of the Israeli protection gear manufacturer Masada Armour adjusts a new civilian bulletproof backpack, designed for schoolchildren, at the company's headquarters in Julis, Israel on Aug. 30. (VCG/Ahmad Gharabli) pic.twitter.com/Ssl2o2RgL7— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 30, 2018
According to ACLU, although there were over 1 million “serious offenses” reported in the 2015-16 school year, 96 percent of these related to fights without weapons. And although 230 schools reported school shootings, 11 actually occurred.
ACLU concluded the following.
“Instead of proceeding with care, the administration is now using the flawed data on school shootings to emphasize a need for more school discipline — which has turned schools into militarized places that deprive students of color of an equal education, as previously reported by earlier administrations.”
While the government’s findings may contradict reality, at least in the context of school shootings, gun violence remains a problem across the United States.
According to Gun Violence Archive (a non-profit organization providing public access to information about gun-related violence in the U.S.) there has been over 38,000 gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2018, nearly 10,000 of which resulted in death, and nearly 20,000 resulted in injury.
Four hundred and fifty-nine children were killed or injured, and nearly 2,000 teenagers were killed or injured by a gun in the United States in 2018 thus far.