Bullet-proof backpacks sold in Rockford

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — The violent week across America has one company offering some peace of mind to parents in the form of bullet-resistant backpacks for kids.

And they’re being sold right here in Rockford.

“You can’t be naive in this world anymore, where you put your defense down a little bit,” Jacqueline Hartzell, a parent and former school bus driver, said.

And that’s exactly what’s being taught in hallways and classrooms in America.

“Today, kids are having active shooter drills at school so, we didn’t have that when we were in school,” Yasir Sheikh, the CEO of Guard Dog Security and the mind behind the company’s bullet-proof backpacks, said.

But today is a new reality, and as kids go back to school, Guard Dog’s backpacks could help save students if the unthinkable happens, Sheikh said.

“The bullet-proof protection is on the back of the backpacks,” Sheikh explained. “It’s towards the back of the backpacks, in fact, it’s in between the padding. A lot of times people won’t even be able to tell it’s there.”

OfficeMax on East State Street in Rockford is selling those backpacks. Sheikh says Guard Dog has been manufacturing the backpacks since 2013. The idea was born from another mass shooting: the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“We were manufacturing and designing and distributing pepper spray, stun guns and personal security products like that, so this was kind of an extension of the line,” Sheikh said.

The backpacks come in a variety of colors and offer different levels of protection. They cost between $100 and $200.

While some parents have suggested the price may be a little high, Sheikh had this to say: “What kind of price are you putting on safety and protection?”

And Jacqueline Hartzell agreed.

“What would be the difference between spending $200 on two pairs of Jordan’s, or $200 on something that would save your life when you go to school?”

But while the backpacks may offer more protection, they are not completely bullet-proof. Guard Dog says the backpacks would stop bullets from a pistol, but not an AR-15.

The backpacks are available on Home Depot and Walmart’s websites as well.

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