MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new classroom item aims at having a positive impact on students’ education and safety. They’re called ballistic whiteboards and shield against violence.
In the last decade, 153 kids have died in school shootings across the U.S.
In September 2003, the unimaginable nightmare became a reality for the Cold Spring community when Jason McLaughlin gunned down two classmates inside ROCORI High School. The 15-year-old killed classmates Aaron Rollins and Seth Bartell.
The new hope, according to Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones, is an innocent-looking white board will erase those safety fears.
The boards each weigh about 4 pounds and can be used like a regular classroom whiteboard. In the event of a threat, they have handles on the back so they can be held up as a shield.
At first, Jones said he didn’t believe the hype. After all, the board is fairly small, just 18” x 20”.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I could not believe that a board like this had any value in defense.”
Skepticism quickly vanished as the Cold Spring police department tried to destroy the bulletproof white board.
Fifteen rounds of bullets later, the front was banged up, but not a single bullet broke through. Trying to further test its durability, the officers stabbed it with a knife, hit it with a baton and even kicked it.
To the surprise of Jones, the board, which is only a quarter inch thick, wouldn’t break.
“It is empowerment. It is a tool,” he said. “Something that the teachers will finally have, and the cooks and the custodial staff and principals and administrative staff — so they don’t feel helpless.”
The boards are available through Hardwire LLC and cost $300 each. There are also clipboards and backpack inserts available.
ROCORI already have 170 of them that were paid by a donation and the school district.