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‘This is our sad reality’: Bulletproof backpacks are a big back-to-school item

Backpacks are unpacked before being given out to local kids during the Guns Down Water Guns Up back to school giveaway at the East Athens Community Center in Athens, Ga. (Joshua L. Jones/AP)

With school starting soon around the country, new attention is being focused on keeping kids safe after a spate of shootings over the past year.

In 2018, there were 24 school shootings in which there were injuries or deaths. In February of that year, 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., but that was only one of the deadly shootings. Eight students were killed three months later at a school in Santa Fe, Texas.

There have been calls for more armed guards in schools — and armed teachers, as well as pushback to the notion that more guns in schools will keep children safe.

States are taking different approaches. New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, just signed a bill forbidding school districts from allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns.

Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has supported the arming of teachers. Last year, the state legislature passed a law requiring schools to have armed guards, and this year DeSantis signed a law permitting teachers and other adults in school buildings to carry guns.

Concerned that school districts weren’t moving fast enough to implement the laws, DeSantis convened a grand jury to investigate. It just released an interim report saying some of them weren’t, but didn’t name which ones.

Meanwhile, bulletproof or bullet-resistant backpacks seem to be a big hit at stores around the country.

Here’s what’s happening in tweets and links to stories about these issues: