As students head back to school, talks about gun violence continue to dominate the headlines. A controversial new Public Service Announcement is stirring the debate.
It was recently released by Moms Demand Action. The PSA features a family waking up and a boy's mother getting him ready for school. She pulls a sweatshirt over his head with the image of a bulls eye target on it. The boy's mother then puts a bullet proof vest over him and he heads off to school. The video ends with the question "Is This The New School Uniform? Send Congress a message. Pass gun control today or lose my vote tomorrow."
The conversation about gun control took on new life after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December. The mass shooting claimed the life of 26 people, including 20 children.
Many have advocated for tougher gun control laws since then. New York enacted the toughest gun legislation in the country called the New York Safe Act. Others have said the laws go too far.
In the wake of several school shootings like Newtown, new products are flooding the market, designed to keep kids safe. A number of bulletproof school products are being marketed to school districts, including a $109 clipboard to entire classroom door protectors for $1,500 and $3,000 protective white boards.
Armor manufacturer Hardwire LLC makes armored gear for the military. But after Sandy Hook, the CEO who is a parent, says he had to act.
This year, a mother in Delaware bought her daughter a bulletproof backpack insert. Companies say the products are selling well among families and schools. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore spent almost $60,000 for 200 armored white boards, one for every classroom.
But school safety experts say just because students feel safer, doesn't mean they actually are. "It may meet the emotional security needs of some parents and some educators, but it really sets parents and kids up with the false sense of security and distracts and diverts from the more practical things that we should be doing to improve safety of schools and childre
n," said Kevin Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services.
Safety experts encourage schools to focus on things like controlling access to the building and having frequent crisis drills. Advocates of the bulletproof products say if all those things fail, teachers and students need a way to protect themselves.