Maryland college arms faculty with bullet-proof whiteboards
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — Professors at a Maryland university will be dispensing knowledge this fall from whiteboards that have a special property – they can stop a bullet.
According to FoxNews.com, the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore bought 200 of the portable writing boards – the modern day equivalent of chalkboards – which can also protect the user from gunshots. The move, and the idea of the boards themselves, seems tied to the school shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and in Sandy Hook Connecticut last year.
“We feel that this could be a model for other schools and how to improve public safety,” Juliette Bell, President of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore said to FoxNews.com. “Being the first college to adopt this we hope other campuses will follow.”
The boards are manufactured by Pocomoke City, Md.,-based Hardwire, cost about $300 and measure 18-by-20 inches.
Bell added that the purchase of the boards was made after a campus safety review.
“This is just one component we are adding.” She said, making note of a recently implemented alert system.
Teachers at Eastern Shore will receive training in the coming days as the fall semester begins in how to properly use the bulletproof shield.
“Any kind of technology to prevent or deter an attack is a positive,” Alison Kiss, executive director for The Clery Center for Security on Campus, told FoxNews.com. “All campuses should be pro-active when it comes to campus safety. Use of these boards certainly has to be coupled with threat assessment teams.”
The reinforced whiteboard weighs less than four pounds and has two handles which enable the user to protect their head and torso.
“When you add armor, you lower bullets,” George Tunis, president of Hardwire, which also makes protective armor for the military and law-enforcement, told FoxNews.com. “This provides a way for teachers to provide their students some protection.
“A gun is a very mobile device,” he added. “This provides equally mobile protection for teachers.”
Tunis says that the idea originally came after the sandy hook shooting and they were able to modify a similar product—a bullet-proof clipboard used by police departments.
“We were already placing graphics on our product after many of our clients in law enforcement were asking to have their departments log on the clipboard,” He said. “So we figured that it would be just as simple for us to add a whiteboard surface.”
Tunis says that the boards are already being used in hundreds of elementary and high schools across the country and that dozens of universities have reached out to Hardwire, expressing interest in obtaining the whiteboards.
The protective armor behind the white board was based off the same tech developed by Hardwire made for the military that was used in Iraq and Afghanistan.