The school shootings that took place in Newtown, Conn., in December — in which 20 children and six adults were killed — have provoked a wide range of responses. One business, hoping to prevent another such mass killing, has responded by reinventing the ordinary classroom white board, turning it into a bulletproof shield.
Hardwire, a Maryland-based manufacturer of military armor and law-enforcement protective gear, has developed a white board that can stop a bullet fired from point-blank range, USA Today reports. The white boards are made of a highly durable, polyethylene-based material called Dyneema; the company has also created a hand-held, bulletproof clipboard.
"As teachers are doing their daily lesson plans, it's in their hands. And if there's a crisis, it's in their hands," George Tunis, CEO and chairman of Hardwire, told USA Today. "Teachers are not first responders, but sometimes they're thrust into that role."
The white boards, which measure 18 by 20 inches (46 by 51 centimeters) and weigh just under 4 pounds (2 kilograms), have three rubberized handles on the back. In the event of an emergency, a teacher can slip his or her arm inside the handles to use it as a shield.
Other manufacturers have also created unusual products in response to the Newtown school shooting. Amendment II, a Utah-based company specializing in armor for military and police officers, has developed a line of bulletproof backpacks designed to stop a bullet from a .357 Magnum handgun.
Tunis has donated 90 of the white boards to the school his children attend. Headmaster Barry Tull told USA Today, "We're very grateful to receive them," though he declined to describe how — or if — the school's students and teachers were trained to use the boards in case of an attack.