In the absence of Congressional action to curb now-regular shootings all over the nation, private companies are coming up with their own lucrative solutions. One manufacturer of lightweight armored cars for public figures is now marketing bulletproof whiteboards that can be used as barriers if a school is under attack.
The International Arming Corporation’s “Safeboard” starts at $1,850 and can either slide and lock over a door or fold away from the wall to create a shield for up to 37 seven-year-olds, according to Fast Company.
Schools are struggling with the question of how to protect students after the massacre that killed 20 children and six staff members in an elementary school in Newtown, CT last year. Some are arming teachers and holding “shooting drills” to prepare students and staff. Meanwhile, tactical gear companies are enjoying a surge in sales by terrified parents who are stocking up on armored backpacks and child-sized ballistic safety vests.
IAC is framing Safeboard as a less dangerous and more cost-effective alternative to putting more guns in schools. Safeboard, the website says, “may appeal to parents and teachers who are uneasy at the idea of arming school staff. And there may be good reason for thinking twice about that idea.”
It’s understandable that schools and parents feel they must take their children’s safety into their own hands, as virtually anyone in the U.S. can get their hands on a gun without raising red flags — a status quo that remains intact after legislation to expand background checks failed in April. Still, militarizing schools may not do much to stop mass shootings, which usually wreak havoc in just a couple minutes and leave little time for an organized response.