Bulletproof Whiteboards Serve as Affordable Shields for School Shootings

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There is now a new line of protection for teachers to use in case of a school shooting: bulletproof white boards. 

Hardwire, a Maryland armor manufacturer, made the boards with a material called Dyneema. Dyneema can repel bullets from handguns and shotguns, which are the two most commonly used weapons in school shootings. 

CEO of Hardwire, George Tunis, said the board will primarily be a teaching tool, "hopefully all of its life."

But he said during moments of emergency, "Murphy's Law usually applies and you want to be prepared." While it's not something that guarantees a shooter will back off, it buys time until authorities can make it to the scene. 

At first glance, the whiteboard looks like any ordinary whiteboard, but it is actually the same size and composition of those used by military units in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by federal agents battling gun cartels. 

It is 18-by-20-inches, 3.75-pounds and has straps on the back, making it easy to hold up. 

Tunis admits that the board is a "last line of defense" and "not something you go into the hallway with."

Rather than ricocheting, the bullets get embedded in the fibers of the shield. Tunis describes it as a "bullet sponge."

While the debate over how to protect children from school shootings is raging, Tunis said the shields are noncontroversial and benign. 

"It's not going to hurt anybody. And we can armor an entire school in days," he said. 

Senior Editor of TheGunMag, Dave Wonkman, said the shields are definitely not a solution, but could be part of a strategy to improve safety. 

"You aren't going to replace the advantage of having a person nearby trained to respond in event there's a shooting," Wonkman said. "It's not as if you're going to buy 30 of these boards and think that's the end of the problem."

Tunis said another advantage of the boards is their affordability. 

An entire high school can be outfitted with the boards for around $20,000, while one armed guard could cost $50,000 yearly. 

Two grade schools, a high school, and a university have already ordered and installed the boards. 

"It's a one-time cost to armor every classroom and every adult, the janitors, the coaches, the lunch ladies," Tunis said. "It's very affordable, which was another criteria we wanted to set…this stuff used to be very, very expensive. Now it's not."