Parents buying bullet resistant armor for kids' backpacks after Florida school shooting

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

John Hassett never thought he’d be packing a metal shield next to his 10-year-old son’s lunchbox.

“It is a little bit depressing when you think about it, but better safe than sorry,” said Hassett.

Hassett is just one of so many parents buying backpack bullet resistant armor to send their kids to school with, in hopes of keeping them safe during a school shooting.

“You really got to think about it’s a matter of 'when', not a matter of 'if',” said Hassett.

AR500 Armor in Phoenix said they can barely keep up with demand since the Florida shooting.

“Backpack armor…that’s gone up around 1000 percent in the last two weeks,” said David Reece, CEO of AR500 Armor.

The company is buying more steel and supplies, and working their employees extra hours to stock their shelves. They say the size of the shields is easy for kids to use in any critical situation.

“If you had to for some reason run toward something that was danger, you’d want to put the backpack on your front. If you’re running away from it, you want to put it on your back,” said Reece.

And to parents, that added safety is worth every single penny.

“When you look at the overall cost of a life, a few hundred bucks is worth the investment,” said Hassett.

Prices vary depending on the kind of backpack armor. Steel armor starts at $65, and soft-sided armor starts at $109.

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Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

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Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMA awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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