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by Sullivan Owens October 28, 2022 4 min read 1 Comment

Guest Blogger: Emily Johnson

Protecting our First Line of Defense – Body Armor for Teachers and School Administrators

When we send our children off to school to learn and grow, we relinquish our control as parents to protect them for the day. Instead, we put that responsibility into the capable hands of our teachers and school administrators. 

But the worry over Chickenpox and the stomach flu has taken a backseat to the fear, albeit unlikely, of a school shooting. And here’s the deal: it is our teachers and school administrators who risk their lives as the first line of defense when it comes to keeping our children safe.

Image of teachers and administrators

Violent incidents at school have risen sharply in the past several years. As a result, many parents, myself included, have started purchasing bulletproof backpacks and armored inserts for their children. 

In fact, the sale of personal protective equipment and armor has grown into a booming business. But what about our teachers and our administrators? You know, the one’s who we entrust with our children’s safety and wellbeing. 

Many teachers are now looking at how best to protect themselves in the event of an active shooter incident ensuring they can follow protocol, lock doors, turn off lights and protect our children. As I’ve found through my research, there are a lot of choices out there and some are better suited for school than others. So, let’s take a look at a few!

Image of teacher and bulletproof laptop case

Now, obviously we can’t have our teachers dressed in full tactical gear as they expound on Newton’s 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (I don’t actually know what that is, but I have a vague memory of having to learn about it).

So if you’re a teacher or school administrator, what reasonable body armor options are available to protect you in the event of an active shooter situation? 

In layperson’s terms, there are two types of personal protection – that which you carry and that which you wear. 

The “Carrying” Type of Armor for Teachers

  • Bulletproof backpacks and backpack inserts - As you might imagine from the name, armored backpacks are those that are reinforced with bulletproof material and plates meant to withstand the impact of a bullet. In addition to backpacks, bulletproof inserts are just that – they are inserted into any bag or backpack to be used as a shield should the need arise.

Image of bulletproof backpack armor in the classroom

  • Armored laptop cases, clip boards and other items – Believe it or not there are a lot of everyday items that can be bulletproofed. Laptop cases are a popular one carried by many in the workplace. Clipboards, which are a common item to find in schools, can also serve to provide protection in an active shooter situation. There are even bulletproof whiteboards out there that can be used to shield multiple people at one time.

All of these are effective means of personal protection; however, teachers and school administrators are often the ones that are confronting a shooter, not hiding from one as our children are often taught to do.

To be effective, armored backpacks, inserts and objects need to be on your person or close enough to grab should the need arise. Sometimes this isn’t practical or possible, especially for teachers. So let’s take a look at “wearable” personal protective armor.


The “Wearable” Type of Armor for Teachers

  • Bulletproof Vests - I admit that when I first began writing blogs for Premier Body Armor, my impression of bulletproof vests was that they were big, bulky, uncomfortable, and meant for law enforcement officers and military. However, with advancements in technology, bulletproof vests have been streamlined to become sleeker and more comfortable yet just as effective.

  • Today there are bulletproof vests that are lightweight and nearly hidden under clothing, giving teachers and school administrators protection without children spotting them and becoming unnecessarily worried.

     

    Image of a bulletproof vest hidden under clothing.

     

  • Bulletproof Clothing – technology has also provided the ability to bulletproof wearable armor far past the classic bulletproof vest. Today you can find bulletproof jackets, hoodies and even shirts.
  •  

    Bulletproof tshirt is the best lightweight body armor solution. These bulletproof shirts are moisture wicking and concealable

    Personal protection armor is more complicated than you might think. If you’ve done any research, you have likely come across NIJ Ratings, industrial jargon and even found yourselfmore confused withmore questions afterward. I know I did.

    So when Premier Body Armor asked if I would write a layperson’s guide to armor, I was happy to oblige. A little information can go a long way when it comes to purchasing the best protective armor for you and it even might provide a bit of peace of mind. And that definitely counts for something, right?

    Now obviously the ultimate goal would be to prevent a school shooting altogether. How to do so is a hotly debated topic and one that we have very little control over. But what we do have control over is doing what is in our power to lessen the impact should an active shooter incident occur. To do so, we need to ensure our first line of defense, our teachers and school administrators, can be just that – our first line of defense.


    1 Response

    Lynn
    Lynn

    October 31, 2022

    Sad, but needed in this day and age!

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