Oregon mom sends daughters to school with ‘bulletproof backpacks - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon mom sends daughters to school with ‘bulletproof backpacks’ after Florida shooting

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TROUTDALE, OR (KPTV) -

The deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida sparked a renewed interest in bulletproof backpacks. In fact, manufacturers are having a hard time keeping their shelves stocked.

However, law enforcement officers say Kevlar and bulletproof backpacks are not without their flaws. Despite their warnings, Mikayla Hull, a mother of two young children, owns two bulletproof backpacks.

Hull, who works at Reynolds High School, doesn't have to wonder if a shooting could ever happen at that school, because it already did.

In June 2014, 15-year-old Jared Padgett brought an AR-15 rifle into the school in Troutdale – shooting and killing his classmate, Emilio Hoffman, and wounding a teacher.

Although Hull wasn't a Reynolds employee at the time, she says it did affect her deeply. It was then, she made the choice to do everything in her power to protect her kids, no matter the cost.

"I did purchase my child the backpack immediately following the school shooting... I decided it was just the best option to do what I could to protect my children in the event that they were in the path crossing of a shooting,” Hull said.

Hull's two daughters, 9-year-old Elena and 4-year-old Amelia, who is still in pre-school, wear so-called "bulletproof" backpacks to school every day. Hull admits her youngest daughter is not yet old enough to understand why.

"As far as I've explained it to her is, if you feel unsafe, you can just wrap like a hug over your chest,” she said.

Hull recently purchased another backpack to replace the one she'd bought in 2014, but getting her hands on it proved difficult.

She says, "Approximately 2 weeks ago I looked into the Kevlar backpacks. They were available and when I went back two or three days later they were completely sold out."

Hull says she searched for the backpacks on multiple online retailers but they were sold out everywhere. That was just days after the Parkland shooting.

Each backpack comes with a certificate proving it has undergone ballistic testing. An independent tester shoots five 9-millimeter and five 44-magnum bullets into the backpacks, at a distance of around 8 feet. If the product passes the test, it makes it on to the market.

But officials say these tests are not entirely realistic because they're done in a controlled environment and there's nothing controlled or predictable about a mass shooting.

According to Sgt. Bryan White with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, some of these backpacks have the same ballistic rating as the vests their deputies wear on patrol.

"It's not going to stop rifles typically. Any time you hear about an AR-15 or some type of assault rifle or semi-automatic assault rifle, it's not designed to stop that level of threat, simply because the momentum and the speed that a bullet or projectile fires out of that gun," White says.

This isn't news to Hull. She did lots of research and watched many video reviews before buying the Guard Dog ProShield 2 and she says she'll take her chances.

"An argument that I would make is, you buy a lottery ticket for the one-in-a-million chance you're going to win the lottery. I'm taking the one-in-a-million chance that my child could actually be protected using this backpack,” Hull said.

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