Why Don’t We Issue Bullet Proof Vests To Students?

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

I took this quiz yesterday over at FiveThirtyEight, and I was surprised at some of the numbers. Roughly 2 out of 3 Americans support stricter gun laws, although that number might be inflated because of polling conducted after Parkland. The article reports that the numbers go back down as memory of the latest mass shooting fades.

Of all the ideas for stricter gun laws and demands to protect children through having more armed people running around, one thing I don’t see much of is giving bullet proof gear to students. They happen often enough that they don’t surprise the public much anymore. Although, what counts as a school shooting depends on what definition gets used. Everytown, for example, catalogs every recorded incident of a firearm discharging a round into or on school property. Other sources only care if multiple victims get shot and/or killed. But regardless of how one measures it, there have been many instances of guns going off in public schools (click here for more info).

Still, nobody’s calling nationally to give students body armor.
If guns aren’t going anywhere – only about 10% of U.S. citizens want to ban firearms outright – then body armor makes sense. The number of mass shootings in schools is on the rise. We supply soldiers and police with body armor when they go into dangerous environments. Why not students?

At least body armor is becoming more fashionable for teachers. Maybe they can make smaller tactical gear for students too. They shouldn’t be as expensive, because they’d take less raw materials to manufacture.

Some schools might be uncomfortable with the student body going around in riot gear, but there are some other benefits too. It’s hard for high school students to engage in public displays of affection while wearing full riot gear. Combat gear also might cut down on playground injuries for younger students. College students ought to be able to get their protection in school colors.

As long as we’ve got a Second Amendment, mass shootings, and an NRA, we should look into this.
As far as I’m aware, the right to bear arms isn’t the same thing as a right to easy targets. People have talked about arming teachers and other personnel in schools, so it would make sense that at least those people should carry armor. But if we expect teachers and personnel to actually engage in a firefight with any potential attackers, the zone of danger foreseeably extends to bystanders. That the bystanders are kids makes no difference.

At least with body armor, it would do more than thoughts and prayers.

I spoke too soon. Two prominent YouTubers have spoken out about some changes to school safety, including the use of bullet proof sheets in backpacks: