CLE Company Making Bulletproof Backpacks

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Koron Jenkins' view of the world forever changed when he became the father of two little girls.

Statistically speaking, 1-year-old Kaleah and 5-year-old Janiya will never have to worry about a gunman storming their school, as happened last December to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Still, that doesn't keep their dad from worrying.

"That's some of the things you do think about when you're away," he said.

It is that same concern that's fueling interest in bulletproof backpacks for kids, the latest in self-protection products made right here in Cleveland by Impact Armor Technologies on St. Clair Avenue.

"You're getting something between you and the bad guy, the threat," said Rob Slattery, sales manager and a former law enforcement officer.

Slattery told Fox8 News Reporter Lorrie Taylor his company began working on the line a year and a half ago, long before 20 children and six adults were shot to death in Newtown. He insists the $100 bulletproof backpack isn't designed to play on parental fear, but rather to prevent it.

"The reality is bad things happen, and you have to make yourself a harder target," he said.

Slattery said his two daughters carry bulletproof shields in their backpacks all the time, despite initial objections they’d be too heavy. But at a pound and a half, the father of two told Taylor the girls don't even notice the difference.

Slattery also said the shields aren’t just for kids or schools; the company will custom make them in any size for anyone.

"My greatest worry,” said Ken Trump, a national consultant on school security and crisis preparedness, “is not only is it a waste of money, but it's the false sense of security."

Trump is no fan of the bulletproof backpack or any of the other items in the product line, such as bulletproof clipboards and desk calendars.

"A lot of times the best security is actually invisible, the things that can' be seen,” said Trump. “Training your staff, building relationships with kids so they come forward to report plots and kids with weapons in schools."

Trump told Taylor there is a big difference between feeling safer and being safer.

"These ideas may be well-intended, but they're not well thought out. They're not practical," he insisted.

Koron Jenkins doesn't disagree with Trump; he just doesn't want to take any chances with the lives of his daughters.

"There's a part of me that's saying it's kind of silly but then again, it's like you have to protect your children, but it's like—why do you have to go to that extent," said Jenkins.

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