Bulletproof backpack put to the test

BAKERSFIELD, CA - The city of Taft, California is known for its small town feel.

"It's the smallest community ever and usually everyone likes everyone and gets along with everyone but things change," said Corey Ramos, a senior at Taft Union High School.

It was what happened on January 10, 2013 that changed the small community forever. Taft made national headlines after a student walked into a classroom, shot and seriously injured a student.

"It was bad there was blood everywhere, all over the floor," said Ramos.

Ramos was in the classroom when gunshots rang out. Now a year later, Ramos said she realizes how lucky she is to be alive after coming face to face with the shooter. Ramos said going back to class was the difficult part.

"Sometimes I'm still like, that person's looking pretty suspicious today," said Ramos.

A year before the Taft shooting was the deadly attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children and six adults were killed at the school.

According to the Washington Post, a new analysis shows there have been at least 44 school shootings since the Newtown tragedy.

As a result, companies like Guard Dog Security tells Scripps sister station 23ABC its seen sales of bulletproof backpacks soar.

The backpacks range in price, 23ABC bought one for around $130 on Amazon but they go all the way up to $300.

A price Ramos's mother said she would pay to know her daughter feels safe.

"Corey going through what she went through, if she said that would make her feel a lot better I would definitely do it," said Danielle Overton.

Do these backpacks really protect your child? Or are these companies making money off of parents' fears?

23ABC's Erin Briscoe called the Bakersfield Police Department who made it clear it does not endorse the backpack, but was willing to help put it to the test.

The backpack was tested and certified to stop 357 magnum, 44 magnum, 9mm and .45 bullets, according to Guard Dog Security's website.

The backpack, with the Kevlar insert inside of it was placed on the ground against a drum.

Standing 35ft. away from the backpack Range Master James Ramos started with a Glock 17, 9mm. The bullet got stopped by the Kevlar insert.

Next up, Ramos shoots at the backpack with a 40 caliber handgun. Again, the Kevlar insert stopped the bullet.

Even though the backpack is not supposed to withstand the bullet from a semi-automatic rifle 23ABC wanted to see how it held up anyway. The result: the bullet went through the backpack and the Kevlar insert.

We took the Kevlar insert out of the backpack and replaced it with several thick books.


-The books stopped the 9mm bullet.

-The books stopped the 40 caliber handgun bullet.

-The books stopped the semi-automatic rifle bullet.

Marriage and family therapist Brock Caffee said he's concerned that the backpacks might create a false sense of security for some kids.

"Children may feel overly safe and in feeling so safe they may actually be at a higher level of danger," said Caffee.

So how should parents bring up the topic?

Caffee suggests doing it cautiously, "You're going to want to strike some kind of balance as a parent between raising a healthy level of caution and anxiety and not creating some additional trauma.”

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