GREEN HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA — As Shannon and Chad Miller get their son Elijah ready for school, it looks mostly like when the vast majority of other parents in the country send their kids off for a day of learning. Chad packs Elijah’s lunch, and Shannon gets his clothes ready and lays them out on his bed. Elijah is seven, so they both take turns corralling him away from his tablet and toys, and toward his toothbrush and breakfast. There’s one, final step that they take, though, which may raise some eyebrows in parenting circles, but Chad and Shannon both say they won’t change their family routine any time in the foreseeable future.
“Eli, come get your vest, honey,” Shannon calls her son from the kitchen. “Come here, dude! Let’s get you all suited up for your day of learning, yeah?”
Elijah bounds into the kitchen, finishing his toaster waffle as he puts his plate in the sink. Then, Elijah takes his mother by the hand, and they go to the family’s coat closet. Shannon pulls out a kevlar vest, just the right size for Elijah, and she helps him secure it to his body. Afterwards, she puts Elijah’s heavy winter coat over the jacket, and reminds him not to take the vest off until he gets back home from school.
“Yes, Mom, I won’t take it off,” Elijah says. “Hey, maybe next time we go to Target, can you get me a pack of Pokemon cards?”
Chad smiles at his son’s request, tells him “we’ll see,” and he shuffles Elijah out of the door, and into the driveway. Chad helps Elijah get into the family’s passenger sedan, into his booster seat, and he helps buckles the seat belt. Within a few moments, Chad and Elijah are on their way, leaving Shannon behind to chat with our reporter for a few more minutes before she has to head out to her own job.
Shannon tells our reporter that she and Chad were initially not very happy about sending their child to school in a kevlar vest, but eventually they say they “saw the reality” in front of their faces.
“This day and age, it’s probably better safe than sorry, but I figured, why not add a little pizzazz and couture to the bone chilling eminence of it just being a matter of time before another school is riddled with bullets,” Shannon said.
Mrs. Miller says she’s “excited” about the stylish kevlar vest they send Eli to school in every day.
“I’m really excited about that vest we got Eli,” Shannon tells us. “It was one of the hottest vests on the runway during last year’s New York Fashion Week. It’s so on fleek, it’s ridiculous. I was just telling Chad on our way to get some cold press coffee the other day that I was tired of sending Eli to school in boring kevlar, and I wanted him to be able to let his bulletproof jacket also be an expression of his inner Eli. So we did our research and found the one we put him in today, and I think he looked stylish and prepared just in case it’s his school’s turn.”
Shannon explained that while she and Chad do not own guns, they do own several 180g vinyl records from bands that have guns in their song titles or band names. However, she said that they had lengthy discussions about keeping Elijah as safe as possible when he’s not under their supervision. A designer kevlar vest was “an absolute necessity.”
“I mean, sure, it would be super dope and chill if congress actually plucked any number of the extremely low hanging gun law fruit like universal background checks, magazine capacity limits, or banning the exact gun that has become the tool of choice for school shooters, but barring that, we wanted Eli to have a functional AND fun way to keep a round from penetrating his flesh, tumbling inside his body, and turning him into human Swiss cheese, know what I’m saying?”
The Millers hope other parents will take their lead.
“It’s not enough for kids to be safe from flying bullets; shouldn’t they also look their very best, and shouldn’t the kevlar come from locally sourced providers, if at all possible,” Shannon asked rhetorically. “The bottom line is you can never be too cautious, about mass shootings or fashion.”
There have been 18 shootings on school campuses in America since the beginning of 2018.