New play tackling school shootings to premiere in Fort Myers

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Florida Repertory Theater cast members preparing the stage for “Bulletproof Backpack.” Credit: WINK News

Safety in our schools is always a focus for parents and school administrators, but on Wednesday night, you can hear from children about how they feel as they walk the halls everyday.

Gun violence in school is the theme of a new play at the Florida Repertory Theater. “Bulletproof Backpack” focuses on your child’s safety when in the classroom and about the generational change these kids are experiencing. The mass movement against gun violence that came after the Parkland shooting especially inspired them. The actors, directors and writers of this play interviewed students, teachers and principals from Naples to Sarasota to get their reactions to and thoughts on school shootings and shooting drills, then turned that feedback into this unique performance.

In order to prepare for an active shooter, schools must run through drills. While it’s important to always be prepared, the education director at FRT, Kody C. Jones, said the students would often say they don’t know if it’s a drill or an actual shooter.

“We have the first generation of kids that are being told on a daily basis since kindergarten that someone you know or someone you don’t know could walk into this room at any moment and shoot you and kill you,” Jones said. “That added pressure… I mean, it is hard enough to be a high school kid, but to worry about if you are going to live or die while you are trying to get an education is just horrid.”

Performances of “Bulletproof Backpack” run from Wednesday night through Sunday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $25. You can buy them online here.

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