A grade-school student in the violent Mexican border city of Matamoros has won a runner-up prize in a state science fair with an unusual proposal: a bulletproof backpack to hide behind during shootouts.

Such shootouts often occur in Matamoros, where factions of the Gulf cartel fight turf battles.

Student Juan David Hernandez Rojas came up with the idea of putting a steel plate in the backpack to deflect bullets.

The concept includes a GPS locator to find lost kids, and an emergency battery charger for cellphones.

According to his project proposal, the backpack "would help us be a little safer and keep our parents calmer."

The director of technology promotion for Tamaulipas state said Thursday that Hernandez Rojas won an initial round but didn't make the list of state finalists.