CENTRAL ILLINOIS — ‘Bulletproof backpacks‘ are being sold at area Office Depots in central Illinois.

The Office Depot in Normal, located at 1700 E College Ave, Normal, has the book bags in store. Peoria, East Peoria and Springfield sell the book bags online.

The book bags are made by a company out of Sanford, Florida, called Guard Dog Security. The ‘bulletproof bags,’ specifically the ProShield Scout, come with a level IIIA protection. According to the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ), this level will protect against a .44 Magnum handgun.

“We like to say if there’s a series of home invasions or home security issues or home robberies, then people are going to buy home security systems,” said Yasir Sheikh, president of Guard Dog Security. “Because of the times we live in, people are making the decision to buy bulletproof backpacks as a preventative measure.”

“The National Institute of Justice—the research, development, and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice—has never tested nor certified ballistic items, such as backpacks, blankets, or briefcases, other than body armor for law enforcement. Marketing that claims NIJ testing or certification for such products is false,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco .

The only ballistic-resistant product that NIJ certifies is law enforcement body armor that meet the requirements of NIJ’s Compliance Testing Program (CTP), which are then listed on NIJ’s Compliant Products List.  

The bags are designed for student’s everyday carry. The Guard Dog ProShield Scout backpack looks like a regular backpack, complete with a laptop sleeve and organizational pockets.

“What we’ve seen is that parents are now making a proactive decision,” said Sheikh. “It’s no longer about reacting to some sort of tragedy or some sort of event. We’re seeing that parents are buying these backpacks when considering supplies for back to school.”

According to Angel Armor, bulletproof and bullet resistant are not the same, and nothing is guaranteed when it comes to ballistics. According to the National Institute of Justice, the harsh reality is that “there is no such thing as bullet- or stab-proof armor.” 

“A lot of people are just responding to school and associating safety, along with the purchasing decision, when it comes to school supplies.”

Yasir Sheikh, president of Guard Dog Security

Back packs retail between $115-$300. A portion of sales from the back packs goes toward the Make Our Schools Safe is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit.

The organization is dedicated to protecting students and teachers at school.

Its mission is as follows:

Our mission is to improve the safety of schools, research and test best practices, as well as implement those protocols by creating model schools, beginning in South Florida and spreading nationwide.

Born out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on Valentine’s Day 2018, when our founders lost their 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, we are here to strengthen the weaknesses in school security. We are here to take action, protecting schools so it never happens again. Children should thrive in classrooms, not fear for their lives. The time has come to make schools safe!