It's disappointing that what this school is doing is still considered "news." My wife carried a PE plate in her Patagonia messenger style bag when she was teaching high school. Not ideal, obviously, but better than nothing.   


It weighs less than a book and can stop a bullet. It’s a backpack option at Miami school.


NOVEMBER 03, 2017 6:27 AM

In the arsenal of school-sponsored security measures, metal detectors, ID checks and security cameras are practically second nature. A bullet resistant backpack insert? Not so much.

At Florida Christian School, a private, nondenominational Miami-Dade school serving students from preschool to high school, that could be changing. The school has started offering parents the opportunity to buy a $120 piece of ballistic armor to turn students’ backpacks into potential lifesavers.

“It’s just a tool,” said George Gulla, the school’s head of security. “I’d rather be prepared for the worst than be stuck after saying ‘Wow, I wish we would’ve done that.’”

Gulla, 55, started his job in the shadow of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staff members before turning the gun on himself. Gulla used his 27 years of law enforcement experience to come up with new security measures to soothe anxious parents, including sound-enabled surveillance cameras, uniformed security guards patrolling campus and active shooter drills.

In those drills, students are taught to wear their backpacks on their chests and hold them close.

“We want to protect our students’ center mass,” Gulla explained.

Last year, Gulla was running through the drill with parents. One in particular, Alex Cejas, was intrigued. Cejas founded and runs Applied Fiber Concepts, a Hialeah-based body armor company. When his two kids, now age 11 and 13, started school he slipped one of the soft armor plates he makes into their backpacks.

At just under a pound, the slim black inserts were low impact on Cejas’ kids’ shoulders but a big weight off his.

“While books and stuff in your backpack may stop a bullet, they’re not designed to,” Cejas said. “I wouldn’t bet my life on it.”

After a few rounds of conversation, Cejas agreed to set the school up with a custom order in case parents were interested. The binder-sized piece of armor is built to withstand bullets like a .44 Magnum and a .357 SIG but not from rifles, which would require a bulkier and heavier chunk of armor.

“We thought, yeah, let’s offer it to anyone who wants it,” Gulla said. “It’s not required. But if it gives you extra peace of mind...”

The reaction has been mostly positive, he said, save a few parents who called him to reminisce over “a different time, a different world,” when no one thought body armor was as necessary in a backpack as a brown bag lunch.

The concept isn’t unusual nowadays. Bullet resistant products have been on the market for decades, with new ones popping up after each high-profile mass shooting. Cejas, who’s been in the industry for 25 years, said he saw a wave of profiteers in the bullet resistant school supply industry after the Columbine shooting in 1999, where two high school students shot and killed 11 of their peers.

Worried parents can buy “bulletproof” binder inserts, tablet cases and even backpacks. And they have. After Sandy Hook, the founder of popular body armor company Bullet Blocker told Marketplace sales rose from 20 backpacks a week to around 10,000.

What’s different about these backpack inserts is the partnership with the school. They’re not bought by the school, like the bulletproof whiteboards a Minnesota school board purchased for their district, but parents can print their order form off the Florida Christian’s website and send it to school with their kids.

Kenneth Trump, an expert on school security, called the arrangement “highly unusual.”

Trump, who’s openly dismissive of the utility of bullet resistant products, said he has served as an expert witness in dozens of cases on school security where students are hurt or killed. The common thread, he said, is never a failure in gear or technology – it’s a failure in people or procedures.

He worries that schools that focus on active shooter training have “tunnel vision” and don’t train as well for the more mundane security risks at schools, like a stranger picking up a student without permission.

“You’re bypassing grade school and jumping straight to grad school before you mastered the basics,” he said.

Although Florida Christian has never had a gun incident – “and I pray to God we never have one” – Gulla said he sees the active shooter training and precautions as one small part of a much larger security puzzle.

“It’s out of the norm, but what is the norm?” he said.

Joined: 1/18/03

Location: Miami

Original Post

I like that they're doing Something and being pro-active.  My only concern is how long that armor is going to last, considering how kids treat things like book bags (throwing them around, etc.).  

If it's a Pain in the're doing it WRONG

I don't make policy, only suggestions, take them as such.


Joined: 8/5/05    Location: 20 miles west of Gettysburg, PA



I agree with Cytez, but I wonder how long until the inserts are "lost" or "stolen" and start showing up on the street as improvised body armor for shitheads.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...


I can now imagine Little Johnny Schoolshooter wearing a backpack front and back.

I can also imagine the outcry that now only the affluent lives matter and free armor should be supplied at taxpayers expense to the under privileged and now there will be no money for a SRO.

But hey, look at our  cool new kevlar inserts!

There is no left or right.

There is only tyranny or freedom. 

The moment my kid's school supplies ballistic inserts for them, I'm finding a new school.

 That's why we sacrificed to send the them to good Catholic schools in the area.  I know everyone can't shop around for schools or move away from the city to be in Amish-land, but it was worth it for us.   I know it's not perfect (the West Nickel Mines school shooting was 20 min from home) but that's how my threat assessment went.

Now, if someone want's to give me a plate carrier to commute to Kill-mington, DE, I'm all for it.

Tenui Nec Dimittam


"Ideals are peaceful.  History is violent"   -Wardaddy, Fury


Joined: 8/5/07         Location: Chester County, PA

2damnold4this posted:
DocGKR posted:

If  you are going to uparmor kids packs, don't make it known...

The point is to sell armor to parents.  That takes advertising.  

And get a reduction on your insurance.



The .45-70 is the only government I trust



Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

Hussar posted:

The moment my kid's school supplies ballistic inserts for them, I'm finding a new school.


I would have said the same thing not too long ago.  Hell, I would have said if someone thinks they NEEDED one, I'd be finding a new school.  Problem is, there is no running away anymore.  Rich district/poor district, public/private/Catholic etc., it cannot be predicted.  It's fucking beyond sad.  My daughter had active shooter training in kindergarten.  That she even had to know what that was at her age is disgusting but here we are.



HRH (Ret.) The Most Reverend Consig

Stupidity is not a skillset.






 Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

My kiddo has sported a Level III insert in her backpack for five years now, along with a trauma kit.  Anything else in her backpack is in full compliance with the spirit of the rules created by the Board of Regents in our University system.

I'd rather she not HAVE to do that but reality tells me something else.




Kilroy... ...was here.


Telling ain't training........listening is not learning.


I'm a college student, my experiences are limited, however I think this whole situation is redicoulous. I agree with other posters that this won't serve to protect the children from more common risks. Additionally in the event of a shooting the shooter is, given past events, very likely to use a rifle which would easily defeat soft armor. I have a level III polyethylene plate in my backpack, which while not able to stop M855 weighs only 2.5 lbs, and a trauma kit. 

Just hire more SROs, and equip them with rifles.  

The best defense is a good offense.

“One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England,”  -George Orwell-

If schools are going to drop coin on ballistic inserts, great. But they also need to purchase trauma kits and make sure the teachers and other staff receive training on how to use them. 

Ditto on the suggestion to equip SRO(s) with patrol rifles. Make sure those guys get plates to go over their IIIA.

"On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."

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