KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — You've likely seen posts on social media about bulletproof backpacks on shelves at Office Max and Office Depot in North Carolina. Those products are in Knoxville stores as well.
An expert told 10News the bulletproof backpacks may not be worth it and might create a "prison-like" environment in schools.
Mo Canady is the executive director for the National Association of School Resource Officers, or NASRO, and does not endorse the product.
"From a personal standpoint, I would not have bought those for my children," Canady admitted.
The Guard Dog bulletproof backpacks on shelves claim to be made of ballistic material to protect students from gunfire, but Canady said students and parents shouldn't rely on this.
"The only way that would be effective is some pretty intensive training with how to use it," Canady explained. "If you're just trying to keep from getting shot in the back, maybe that's one thing, but attacks are going to come from different directions and so there's a lot to think about there."
He said training and resources within schools are effective.
"We want to do our job in trying to help the schools create that safe school environment without necessarily having to deal with a bulletproof backpack," Canady said.
He doesn't want families to think spending the $200 on this backpack will ensure their student will be safe.
"I would never want a parent to think 'well my student has a bulletproof backpack, they're going to be okay now,'" Canady illustrated. "That's a false sense of security."
Studies show most schools are actually safer than some public places.
"We want to be able to protect, to some degree that innocence every student should have and being able to not have to worry about being safe in schools," Canady assured.
Canady said the possibility of your student actually having to use the backpack is very low.
"Most schools are not going to face an active shooter event and we're really thankful for that," Canady explained. "It's not going to automatically create a safe situation."
The ballistic material in the Guard Dog bulletproof backpacks tacks on an extra few pounds as well.
Since the products are over $100, they would not be tax-free during the Tennessee tax-free holiday.