Maryland University is admitting that the potential for campus violence is a real threat, and they are preparing to combat an active shooter with 18×20 inch shields that double as dry-erase boards.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the University plans to spend $60,000 on 200 whiteboards that will come in blue, pink, and green.
“It needs to be a great whiteboard and a useful tool so that it doesn’t get hidden in the closet,” said maker George Tunis. His Worcester County company Hardwire LLC starting out making military armor, then adapted it for the classroom after the tragic shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed.
Tunis is trying to get more schools to buy this product and is actively trying to get Walmart to offer the product on their shelves as well. The teachers at Maryland University were impressed with the board’s ability, but some experts say this should only be looked at as a last resort in an active shooter situation.
Tunis envisions teachers using the whiteboards to fend off attackers individually or as a group, standing side-by-side to create a wall that could shield evacuating students or to fend off an attacker.
“It’s designed to be a last resort and to buy you some extra time,” he said.
Hardwire first hooked up with UMES in 2004, when a school foundation invested in the company with a $250,000 loan. Later, it granted Hardwire a $500,000 loan, both of which have since been paid back.
“We’re very happy to be on the front end of this,” Bell said. “We believe this is a technology that is going to be helpful in keeping our students and our facilities safe, and we actually applaud Hardwire for their entrepreneurial spirit.”
Tunis said Hardwire has armored about 6,000 military trucks used in Afghanistan and lined military roofs to protect from rocket attacks. The company’s materials also are being used to shore up the Bay Bridge’s infrastructure, he said.
The whiteboards and other personal products, including clipboards designed for police officers, are made from the same strong stuff, a material called Dyneema, the only man-made material that is pound-for-pound stronger than spider silk, Tunis said.
The products absorb bullets so there’s no shrapnel, and force is not a concern, Tunis said.
“The kick of stopping a bullet is no worse than the kick of the gun itself,” said Tunis, who is trying to get Walmart to sell the whiteboards through a “Get on the Shelf” popularity contest the retailer is running.
An 18×20 in dry-erase board that stops bullets is all well and good, but if schools are actually trying to stop a crazed gunman in a school, it should take the idea of armed staff more seriously. After all, knowing people will shoot back at you if you try anything in a school is much more of a deterrent than knowing that teachers have tiny shields they can hide behind.
Ultimately, shooters are looking for places where people hide, and where they don’t fight back. Until more school administrators fix that problem we cannot truly say we are doing everything to “protect the children”.
Does the government know something you don’t? They are preparing for something big, and most Americans are not ready for the coming crisis. See shocking video here.