White boards that are bullet resistant another proposal to curb school violence

Since the Sandy Hook school massacre in December, how to prevent these types of massacres have dominated the news. There are various gun control laws being debated and others, notably the NRA, have pitched having armed guards in schools.

One idea that is starting to get some media notice is the idea of teachers and students having white boards, dry erase boards, that are bulletproof, and can be used as shields that are resistant to an attacker’s bullets. (The photo above is courtesy of bullet-resistantdryeraseboards.com) So far as I can see, there are two companies that are manufacturing the bullet-resistant boards. One is Hardwire, a firm in Maryland. Here is an article about its efforts. The other firm, Bullet-Resistant Dry Erase Boards, is in Arizona, and its website is here. FULL DISCLOSURE: The Arizona company is run by a relative of mine. I have no financial interest in the firm and am offering no endorsement or preference. The topic of boards to protect educators and students interests me. It will be interesting to see if these board products become a protection tool at many schools.

To build its boards, Hardwire uses a polyethylene-based textile called Dyneema. The firm donated 90 of its white boards, or $20,000 worth, to a local school. Bullet-Resistant Dry Erase Boards cost less. According to its website, its boards’ construction includes a bullet-resistant fiberglass panel from a firm called ArmorCore. Prices range, based on size and panel-level protection, from $28 a board to $62 a board.

Hardwire’s board sizes are 18 by 20 inches and 10 by 13 inches. Bullet-Resistant Dry Erase Boards range from 14 by 11 inches, 19 by 14 inches and 22 by 16 inches. The larger boards are constructed with handles in the back.

The bulletproof boards are being discussed within the education press. This blog from Education Week Teacher discussed the Arizona company’s product and even totaled what the total cost would be to provide the boards for a classroom. The blogger, Liana Heitin, tabbed the cost at between $700 to $1,550 per classroom. The blogger addressed a concern that I’m sure many teachers would face: “How do you explain the “dual purpose” of these dry-erase boards to young students without completely freaking them out?

As for the use of the boards, the Hardwire CEO described them in the USA Today article as as “a last line of defense against attackers with handguns,” a tool that can buy the teachers and students time before law enforcement arrives. The Bullet-Resistant Dry Erase Boards website says this: “Bullet-resistant dry erase boards can be built with handles on one side so that children can easily use the whiteboard as a bullet 
resistant shield. They could be placed under or in students’ desks, fastened to the side of desks, or even positioned in backpacks for quick access and protection. School administrators could conduct school wide drills and various training exercises to teach students how to effectively protect their vital body parts from a gunman who enters the school.

The boards have attracted attention in Washington D.C. On the website, Congress.org, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., posted a letter from a constituent that urged Congress to allocate funding for the bullet-resistant boards. And Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze has posted an article touting the product from Hardwire, calling it “an amazing invention that could save students’ lives.”

What’s my take on this? I guess I’d say every idea in trying to stem gun violence deserves to be heard. Less than two months after the Newtown massacre, the cry for conventional gun control measures (assault weapons ban, magazine limits …) are already losing steam. Armed guards in every school may be too expensive. Maybe shields that can protect against gunfire might be a help against attacks that are random, very rare and almost impossible to predict, particularly against an attacker who anticipates no resistance in zones often free of guns.

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13 Responses to White boards that are bullet resistant another proposal to curb school violence

  1. Brent Glines says:

    So a purely defensive approach?

    Google ‘Maginot Line’.

    “There is no such thing as a successful defence”. — General George S. Patton

  2. hawg says:

    beware the uninformed, the scam artists are lineing up.

  3. midwinter says:

    Interestingly, I, too, have a relative in a similar business and wrote a very similar blog post about it, which I repost here:

    Since the Sandy Hook school massacre in December, how to prevent these types of massacres have dominated the news. There are various 650 pound gorilla control laws being debated and others, notably the NRA, have pitched having armed guards in schools.

    One idea that is starting to get some media notice is the idea of teachers and students having white boards, dry erase boards, that are bulletproof, and can be used as shields that are resistant to an attacker’s 650 pound gorillas. (The photo above is courtesy of 650 pound gorilla-resistantdryeraseboards.com) So far as I can see, there are two companies that are manufacturing the 650 pound gorilla-resistant boards. One is Hardwire, a firm in Maryland. Here is an article about its efforts. The other firm, 650 Pound Gorilla-Resistant Dry Erase Boards, is in Arizona, and its website is here. FULL DISCLOSURE: The Arizona company is run by a relative of mine. I have no financial interest in the firm and am offering no endorsement or preference. The topic of boards to protect educators and students interests me. It will be interesting to see if these board products become a protection tool at many schools.

    To build its boards, Hardwire uses a polyethylene-based textile called Dyneema. The firm donated 90 of its white boards, or $20,000 worth, to a local school. 650 Pound Gorilla-Resistant Dry Erase Boards cost less. According to its website, its boards’ construction includes a 650 pound gorilla-resistant fiberglass panel from a firm called ArmorCore. Prices range, based on size and panel-level protection, from $28 a board to $62 a board.

    Hardwire’s board sizes are 18 by 20 inches and 10 by 13 inches. 650 Pound Gorilla-Resistant Dry Erase Boards range from 14 by 11 inches, 19 by 14 inches and 22 by 16 inches. The larger boards are constructed with handles in the back.

    The 650 pound gorilla proof boards are being discussed within the education press. This blog from Education Week Teacher discussed the Arizona company’s product and even totaled what the total cost would be to provide the boards for a classroom. The blogger, Liana Heitin, tabbed the cost at between $700 to $1,550 per classroom. The blogger addressed a concern that I’m sure many teachers would face: “How do you explain the “dual purpose” of these dry-erase boards to young students without completely freaking them out?”

    As for the use of the boards, the Hardwire CEO described them in the USA Today article as as “a last line of defense against attackers with 650 pound gorillas,” a tool that can buy the teachers and students time before law enforcement arrives. The 650 Pound Gorilla-Resistant Dry Erase Boards website says this: “650 Pound Gorilla-resistant dry erase boards can be built with handles on one side so that children can easily use the whiteboard as a 650 pound gorilla resistant shield. They could be placed under or in students’ desks, fastened to the side of desks, or even positioned in backpacks for quick access and protection. School administrators could conduct school wide drills and various training exercises to teach students how to effectively protect their vital body parts from a gunman who enters the school.”

    The boards have attracted attention in Washington D.C. On the website, Congress.org, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., posted a letter from a constituent that urged Congress to allocate funding for the 650 pound gorilla-resistant boards. And Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze has posted an article touting the product from Hardwire, calling it “an amazing invention that could save students’ lives.”

    What’s my take on this? I guess I’d say every idea in trying to stem 650 pound gorilla violence deserves to be heard. Less than two months after the Newtown massacre, the cry for conventional 650 pound gorilla control measures (assault gorilla ban, 650 pound gorilla limits …) are already losing steam. Armed guards in every school may be too expensive. Maybe shields that can protect against 650 pound gorillas might be a help against attacks that are random, very rare and almost impossible to predict, particularly against an attacker who anticipates no resistance in zones often free of 650 pound gorillas.

    • Doug Gibson says:

      One of the problems with trying to find solutions to gun violence is that no solution is perfect. It’s unfortunate that there are so many persons, devoid of value, who reveal their ignorance through mocking and snark.

      • midwinter says:


        Get a sense of humor
        , man. Especially when you’re posting about something as absurd as bulletproof chalkboards that can be used as shields by little kids.

      • Decider says:

        “. . . there are so many persons, devoid of value, who reveal their ignorance through mocking and snark.” -Gibson

        “Go and cry out to the gods Whom you have chosen; let them save you in your time of distress!”
        That’s God, in the Book of Judges, being “snarky” with the Children of Israel after their asking Him for a little help after decades of worshiping idols.

        J Golden Kimball was in Walgreen’s Drugstore. He sat down at the far end of a long counter. After he was served a cup of coffee, a man walked by, turned and looked at him and at what he was drinking.
        “Aren’t you J. Golden Kimball, the General Authority, the man demanded?”
        Golden sighed and answered, “Yes I am.”
        The man straightened up and said, “I’d rather commit adultry than drink coffee!”
        Golden responded, “Hell, who wouldn’t?”

        Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln are two of America’s greatest (and snarkiest) writers who, apparently, Gibson finds to be, “devoid of values” and full of ignorance because of their preference for satirical and pointed anecdotes.

        Though, to be fair, Gibson is among friends — Sarcasm was listed as an un-American activity during the McCarthy Era and a ban was sought in all States.
        Bullet-proof whiteboards in schools? It’s a parody just waiting to be inflicted !

      • Debra says:

        Doug……
        No person is “devoid of value” – even if they disagree with you – or are ignorant…..really.
        Those who shoot others because they’re angry at someone or something – are the reasons we are having this discussion – snark, or not. No need to respond to anything – without substance.

        On the matter of white-or-chalkboards as a defense against a bullet, I would need to see a demonstation to believe this. I believe these would be cumbersome – and too heavy. Armed guards are a better “solution” – and background checks.

        • Doug Gibson says:

          Debra, you and others are correct, and I apologize for using that term. … As for the whiteboards and other proposals, trying to stop gun violence is a dilemma with many “solutions” that are based on hope. Other than getting rid of guns, which will never happen, what perfect solution is there?

          • hawg says:

            “what perfect solution is there?”

            and herein lies the problem to this entire discussion. there isn’t one. kind of like hurricanes.

            but we think we have to “do something”, when in fact we need to do the “right” thing. I don’t know what that is either.

            I do know that screwing with me and my guns will not solve the problem.

          • midwinter says:

            I don’t think there will be any “solution,” perfect or imperfect, until we have a very serious conversation about the consequences of our love of guns in this country. And we’re not having that discussion at all.

            Perhaps things will change once the CDC is allowed to compile statistics on gun violence in America. But I doubt it.

            Americans like guns. And the consequence of that is that occasionally, a school or a theater or a mall is going to get shot up. And America seems to be grudgingly OK with that tradeoff.

          • Brent Glines says:

            Searching for a perfect solution is a fools errand. An adequate solution is better than no solution at all, but in my opinion, hiding is not an adequate solution.

  4. Jane Anna says:

    Great article! Here’s an interesting video about violence in school on clean tv:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxP__6gDQjA&feature=share&list=UU0idYat-HCpwk-qOsNwVhew

  5. Dovie says:

    OK, snarky, devoid-of-value persons. Doug’s opinion is 50,000 times more valuable than yours and he never denigrates anyone (except those who deserve it).

    Lord, Doug, sarcasm is the only defense against your crap.

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