The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) has recently announced that it will be purchasing 200 bulletproof whiteboards from armor manufacturer Hardwire LLC. The boards are said to be able to absorb “multiple magazines of ammunition from any handgun or shotgun without ricochet or injury”; the retail price for each is $299.
According to George Tunis, Hardwire’s owner, the purpose of the whiteboards is to provide both teachers and students with needed protection in the event of a school shooting. As of 2012, 297 people have been killed in mass school shootings over the last 32 years (since 1980), an average of approximately 9 murders per year.
“When Sandy Hook happened … a light bulb went off that it’s really the teachers and administrators [that need protection],” Tunis told the Baltimore Sun. “Those brave souls were trying to close the gap and get to the shooter and stop him, but they didn’t have anything that could stop the bullets along the way.”
UMES President Juliette B. Bell told the Sun that, while the University has never experienced the horror of a school shooting, they must still be ready for the unfathomable. “Being able to respond accordingly is very important,” Bell said. “It’s all about being prepared.”
Although UMES is the first university to take advantage of the bulletproof whiteboard technology, it is not the first school to do so. Hardwire says that it has sold the product to more than 100 schools in five different states, and reports that an increasingly large industry has grown around marketing protective gear to schools.
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