While some say arming teachers or placing armed guards in schools is the best way to keep students safe, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is taking a different approach to security — by purchasing bulletproof whiteboards.
“UMES is the first university to adopt the bulletproof whiteboard as a critical layer of its student and faculty security system,” Hardwire founder George Tunis said in a statement issued by the university. “It’s ‘back-to-school’ season, and as a result of its leadership, UMES will be one of the safest campuses in the country as students return to school.”
The university explained the purchase:
UMES faculty members will be issued the 18-inch by 20-inch Bulletproof Whiteboards for use in their classrooms. Like first-generation whiteboards, they can serve as portable writing tablets during delivery of lectures and labs.
University officials see the technology as another proactive step among many the university has taken to provide a safe learning environment.
“We appreciate and applaud Hardwire for its innovative adaptation of this technology to potentially save lives. Their entrepreneurial spirit serves as a great example for our students,” UMES President, Juliette B. Bell, said.
Founded in 2000, Hardwire has a strong background in public security, according to its website:
“Hardwire” (the product) was originally used for seismic retrofit of buildings and infrastructure reinforcement applications, and this is still the case today. However, September 11, 2001 changed Tunis’ focus and the Hardwire team began to work on armor protection for ground vehicles, aircraft, boats, and personnel.
Today, Hardwire is known for solving some of our country’s most challenging military and defense problems. For over ten years, the Hardwire team has developed, tested, and fielded armor to protect against a variety of threats, ranging from small arms to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to underbody blast.
Hardwire manufactures bulletproof shields, clipboards, whiteboards, and backpack inserts which are being used to protect police forces, SWAT teams, and most recently, schools across the country.
“Classroom safety is not a pleasant topic,” Bell said in the statement. “Unfortunately, campus violence is a reality that we have to be prepared for, and this technology allows us to be proactive rather than reactive.”
While the product is considered “similar to a fire extinguisher, which buys time for the fire department,” Tunis called it, “a tool that buys time until the police arrive in an active- shooter incident.”
“You may not consider it the best idea, but the Hardwire demonstration video is definitely cool. Watch it here:
H/T: In The Capital