While panicked parents nationwide are clamoring for armed security guards in their children’s schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook attacks of last month, one company is going on the defensive. The latest safety device headed for American classrooms is a bulletproof whiteboard that teachers can use to defend themselves and their students.
Hardwire Armor Systems is retailing the 18-by-20 inch reenforced teaching aid for $299 and boasts that it can withstand a sustained barrage of ammunition from close range using “armor technology … derived from solutions developed for the Department of Defense.”
“As teachers are doing their daily lesson plans, it’s in their hands. And if there’s a crisis, it’s in their hands,” company CEO George Tunis told the Salisbury, Md., Daily Times. “It’s something I don’t think any American can tolerate anymore, and we’re in a position to do something about it.”
The Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six adults were slaughtered by a lone gunman, was one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. The tragedy reignited the debate over gun control in the United States and prompted a run on safety devices including bullet-proof backpacks and vests designed for children.
The white board, which weighs less than four pounds, has handles on the rear that allows teachers to immediately use it as a shield. The Maryland-based firm also produces a smaller clipboard that measures only 10 by 13 inches and costs $109.
Critics have accused manufacturers of exploiting parents’ fears in the wake of the Dec. 14 tragedy; gun sales are up, meanwhile, and the National Rifle Association has reported a 100,000-person surge in membership since the attack took place.