Hardwire Armor Systems, a Maryland-based military equipment company, is making headlines after a Minnesota school district unveiled plans to install the developer's latest creation -- bulletproof whiteboards.
Made of material advertised by its manufacturer as stronger than that in police-issue bulletproof vests, the 18-by-20-inch whiteboards can be used by teachers for instruction and as a shield in case of an emergency.
According to Hardwire’s product data sheet, the bulletproof whiteboard has the ability to absorb multiple rounds of ammunition from any handgun or shotgun without ricochet or injury. The product, which “blends well with the classroom” and has “no psychological impact on students,” comes in two sizes – 18 x 20 (weighs less than four pounds) and 10 x 13 (weighs only one pound).
While the Rocori School District has acquired nearly 200 of the bulletproof whiteboards, Hardwire company officials said the products are already in schools in North Dakota and Maryland, and are being rolled out in Pennsylvania and California.
Phil Jones, police chief in Cold Spring, Minn., where the school is located, demonstrated the whiteboards on Tuesday in a school gym, by leveling a karate kick at one, whacking it with a police baton and stabbing it with a knife. The whiteboard sustained minimal-to-no damage.
While Jones didn't fire his gun at the whiteboard, telling reporters that it would've been unsafe and inappropriate at the school, he did say that he'd tested it by firing several rounds at it.
The whiteboards will arrive at the school district 10 years after a 15-year-old boy brought a gun to Rocori High School and fatally shot 14-year-old Seth Bartell and 17-year-old Aaron Rollins. The shooter, who's serving a life sentence, was convinced by a teacher to put the gun down.
Rollins' father, Tom Rollins, told the Associated Press that he doesn't believe the whiteboards would've saved the two teens. But he said it's a good idea, adding that if the teen gunman had decided to keep shooting, such a board may have helped other students.
"He still had seven more shells in his gun, so who knows what would've happened," Rollins said.
The bulletproof whiteboards are available for purchase via Hardwire Armor’s website.