Bullet-Proof Whiteboards for Schools. What Next?

Readers — You know what goes together better than peanut butter and jelly? (Or peanut butter and chocolate, for that matter?) Fear and money. Which explains why I think these new bulletproof whiteboards may sweep the nation. If I were a venture capitalist, I’d be looking around for any other common school item I could retool as a weapon or defense mechanism. Bullet proof glass for windows (I know that’s already happening). Silent alarms for the teacher’s desk (ditto). Maybe a stapler that shoots darts, or chalk that’s actually a container of pepper spray, or smoke bombs disguised as an shiny apple that sits on the desk.

If marketers can convince us that babies need kneepads to crawl safely, and toddlers need helmets to toddle safely, it should be a cinch to convince parents, teachers and politicians that schools need an arsenal of anti-gunman gadgets for kids to study safely. Invest now. – L.


26 Responses to Bullet-Proof Whiteboards for Schools. What Next?

  1. Eliza January 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Why stop at the teacher, lets arm all students by giving them pens and pencils that with a click of a button it can shoot poisonous darts.

  2. Sky January 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Look, we do stuff for fire safety, and we have fire drills, and that’s not considered crazy. We haven’t had a kid die in a school fire in over 20 years. We have had dozens of kids die in school shootings, however, in the past twenty years. I don’t know about bullet proof whiteboards, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be taking more safety precautions with regard to the possibility of active shooters, such as active shooter drills, like fire drills, so everyone knows what to do to minimize the slaughter in such a situaiton, and there’s no reason not to upgrade buildings, just as you would for fire safety.

  3. Melissa Simms January 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Well, it’s good to know the boards will be safe. Snerk.

  4. Steve Wildstrom January 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Drills make sense–apparently one of the things that helped at Sandy Hook is they had run drills. Lockdown policies make sense. Buying crap that opportunists are peddling to take advantage of fear does not make sense. Shutting the community out of your schools out of fear is even worse.

    In a semi-related development, the TSA is scrapping a billion dollars or so in worthless security scanners the government got panicked into buying.

    Whiteboards, by the way, are normally attached to the wall. This sounds like a product that will do a fine job protecting the cinderblocks.

  5. Nathan January 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    wasp spray works better than pepper spray, and is usually allowed in schools already (also doesn’t draw attention to itself as much)

  6. Eric January 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Pointless, but good on the marketers. I noticed in the video that the demonstration rounds were identified as 9mm, likely from a Beretta or Glock. Don’t they feel comfortable demonstrating it against the weapon and range used in the incident? Typical armor systems are simply not capable of withstanding a high-energy/mass (rifle) round such as a .223 or 5.56mm at close range. I was in a DoD counter-terrorism course and saw a first-hand demonstration of the glass used in diplomatic vehicles. While it stopped a 9mm round cold, a 7.62mm (AK-47) round slipped through like there was nothing there. A rifle at close range will see your bulletproof white board and raise you a red one.

  7. Michael January 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    An easy and smart school addition would be line-x. You know, the truck bed liner. The pentagon had sprayed it in the section that the plane hit on 9/11 and it contained the damage and saved lives. Spraying line-x on the inside of walls would make the walls almost bullet proof. Frankly, it’s cheap enough I think you’ll see it move from commercial to residential settings over the next decade. Seriously, if I build another house I’ll have it sprayed. But because I live in tornado central.

  8. mysticeye January 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Anyone notice it says it’s certified but not at what class:

    Their police shields, for example do list what class: http://www.hardwirellc.com/solutions/law_enforcement.html

    This is not a serious product, this is a product for panicked people who have no clue what they need but just want to “do something”.

  9. Emily January 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Okay, this has to be the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen.

  10. Maureen January 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    AYKM? How exactly would this work? The teacher would grab the white board to dodge bullets while the kids stand by armourless? Why don’t we just send our kids to school in bullet-proof body suits? This is absurd. Hmmm, comparing fire drills to active shooting drills. Can’t imagine any child who’d be able to sleep at nigh or ever want to go to school again after such a drill.

  11. mollie January 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Okay, going to reference that book I just read yet again, “Deep Survival.” When your amygdala gets ramped up, man, do you lose your ability to reason. First step in a crisis: try to move to your front brain, the part that can reason.

    Installing “bullet-proof” white-boards in classrooms: classic amygdala nonsense.

    Crisis is over, folks. The kids died, the teachers died, the deed is done. Carry on. It’s a one-in-a-million thing, don’t try to prevent the next one in terms of counter-attack or defense mechanisms. Just admit you are defenseless against the randomness of the world, and spend your time and effort on things you can control, like your own inner peace.

  12. missjanenc January 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    So…would having these magic whiteboards increase the chance of children being hit by bullets ricocheting off of them? Just sayin’…

  13. Yan Seiner January 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    @Michael: Not sure about the line-x. The stuff I’ve seen would not stop a .22, let alone a higher powered rifle bullet. IIRC that section of the Pentagon had some partial bullet and shrapnel proofing in the windows (basically a very tough window film anchored to the building frame) and some other stuff, but nothing that would stop a plane.

    As for this product, I just can’t see it. A high powered round, even if it did not penetrate, would almost certainly knock it out of the person’s hands. And it leaves legs, abdomen, or head exposed.

    Security theater, for sure. But hey, with Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, what’s a defense contractor to do?

  14. Kathy MacLean January 23, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    To answer the question of “what’s next?” – Bullet-proof backpacks
    And don’t forget that you shouldn’t get your child’s name or initials monogrammed on it so that the the child molesters that live on every corner can’t trick your child by calling him / her by name.

  15. SuzyQ January 23, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Okay…I’m now seeing myself as Captain America….invincible with my white board and Expo marker…

  16. Havva January 23, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Okay totally off topic, but I had to share.

    A man stops a cart containing a child from rolling into a display. Mom brings the cops to cuff him at the checkout counter, and won’t believe any of the witnesses about what actually happened. Guess who gets arrested?


  17. EricS January 23, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Those would be completely useless if you can’t run away or fight back. If they want to go the paranoid route, why don’t they just install panic cages in every classroom. An enclosure with bullet proof glass, and separate ventilation. Where teacher and students can lock themselves into at the sign of trouble, hit a button inside, close themselves in, then have knockout gas fill the classrooms and hallways to incapacitate the attacker(s). lol

    I’m still surprised that they finding different ways to make schools “safer”, but going around the main problem. Guns. Not saying to ban them, but make it very difficult to acquire them. The less on the street, and easy access to them, the less it can be used for crimes. Common sense.

  18. EricS January 23, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    @Havva: LOL! Is that for real? Real or not…karma is a biatch. Some people just like to learn the hard way. However, as great as that was for the woman to get her just desserts. Child abandonment and endangerment it was far from. It’s not like she didn’t have eyes on her kid, and the cart was rolling downhill gaining speed and onto traffic. It would have just went into the shelf. Which would have done nothing. Maybe make a mess of some stock. Oh, and the inconvenience of it being in the way of other customers.

  19. Captain America January 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    I teach, and there’s a long security procedure that almost assuredly has no chance of working in the event of a bullet-sprayer.

    I just hope that in such a situation, I’ll man up and go after the guy/girl. You don’t always die when you’ve been shot, and I’ve been in tough situations before.

  20. pentamom January 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Captain America, of all people, I thought you’d like this one.


    I don’t understand anything about this. Even assuming this would work in any practical way, how does it “make the kids feel safe?” “Oh, look, Mrs. Smith has a shield, so Mr. Gunman can shoot us instead! I feel so safe!”

  21. Havva January 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm #


    No idea if it is real or not… you sort of hope not, but it sounds plausible.

    I was as shocked as you at the excuse for cuffing her. The cops sort of sounded like they were itching to arrest someone for something. They could have at least sited disorderly conduct, and making a false police report, or something more appropriate than child endangerment.

    Just glad the other customer who saw it stuck around and made sure the police listened to what actually happened.

  22. Chihiro January 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    How…would this protect anyone? Whiteboards are screwed into the wall, and if there was a crazy shooter in the classroom, there wouldn’t exactly be time to run over and unscrew the whiteboard…

  23. Warren January 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Okay, I am a big man, and I can promise you that anything in a rifle ammo, and anything over a 22 in a sidearm ammo, will hit that board and knock me on my ass. Probably with some broken bones in my hands. So shooter walks over at his/her leisure and bang.

    Totally off topic. The other day was having a real bad day.
    So this is overdue.

    @Donna, you have a sincere apology. On the other thread I went well past healthy rivalry/debate. Again I do apologize.

  24. Dora January 25, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Have been meaning to comment on a news story I saw about bulletproof backpacks. This seems the right post for it. Can’t find the local abc news story, but this will do. http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2013/01/sandy-hook-ongoing-bullet-proof-backpacks/

  25. shauny April 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    why don’t we make it compulsory for the children to wear armor to school. that everyone will be protected

  26. Wyer July 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    it’s good to practice safety in school. But i think this is just too much. I mean bulletproof whiteboard? Really? Paranoia at it’s highest level