Military photo

File this under things we’re not quite sure how to feel about: A Maryland armor manufacturer has developed a bulletproof whiteboard for use in school classrooms. Created in direct response to December’s tragic schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn., the 18-by-20-inch whiteboards are fitted with rubberized handles and forearm straps on the back so teachers can wield them as shields capable of stopping a handgun round fired at close range.

Hardwire, the company behind the whiteboards (as well as a 10-by-13-inch ballistic clipboard aimed at serving the same purpose), has experience with combat defense. The white board material is a derivative of the polyethylene-based textile known as Dynameer, which Hardwire developed for the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles most notably seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hardwire CEO George Tunis told USA Today that he wanted to throw his company’s expertise behind the problem of gun violence in schools and figure out an innovative solution.

The whiteboard is simply meant to help educators thrust into crisis situations to buy time, he explained, not to turn teachers into first responders or combatants. Let’s hope that’s the case.

USA Today