Image from manufacturer Hardwire LLCâs website showing anti-gun board
Princess Anne â Arab Today
Image from manufacturer Hardwire LLC’s website showing anti-gun board
Princess Anne – Arab Today
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore will hand out 200 portable Bulletproof Whiteboards in classrooms this autumn in a bid to protect teachers in the event of a shoot-out
The historically black college, part of the University System of Maryland invested $60,000 in the boards, designed by the company Hardwire LLC, which also makes defence equipment for the US military. The company says the 18-by-20 inch (56-by-51cm) boards can "buy time" in a shooting by providing a temporary shield for bullets.
The Baltimore Sun reported that around 100 schools have the whiteboards, but UMES is the first university to make the purchase.
The lightweight panels, also available in blue and green, are made of a material called Dyneema and can withstand "multiple magazines of ammunition from any handgun or shotgun without ricochet or injury," according to the manufacturer’s website.
"Classroom safety is not a pleasant topic," UMES President Juliette Bell said.
"Unfortunately, campus violence is a reality that we have to be prepared for, and this technology allows us to be proactive rather than reactive. We appreciate and applaud Hardwire for its innovative adaptation of this technology to potentially save lives."
Bell told CNN a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December that killed 26 people, including 20 children, was a factor in the decision. UMES has not had a shooting incident itself, but preventive security measures were a key consideration, Bell said.
"Anything that we can do that could potentially save a life, we are going to explore," she added.
Hardwire founder George Tunis said the bulletproof boards aren't meant to offer total protection against a gunman, but could give students and staff the time they need to escape or wait for police to arrive.
They are "similar to a fire extinguisher, which buys time for the fire department," he said.
"The Bulletproof Whiteboard is a tool that buys time until the police arrive in an active shooter incident."
Additional reporting: UPI