Rational or Hysterical? Minnesota Schools District Buys Bulletproof Whiteboards

article-2313299-196FFE9A000005DC-484_634x352While schools in Arizona are adding armed posses and schools in Connecticut are arming janitors, a Minnesota school has turned to bulletproof whiteboards as its last ditch defense against attackers. Two students died in a shooting in the Rocori School District in 2003 so the school has purchased 18-by-20-inch whiteboards that can be used by teachers for instruction or bullet protection.

Maryland-based Hardwire LLC is tapping into the near hysteria over school shootings, even though such shootings remains incredibly rare.

The boards are $109 a pop as opposed to normal white boards that cost as little as $23.

article-2313299-196FFE9E000005DC-550_634x356I must confess some skepticism on the practicality of a shield for a teacher. First, it appears to protect only one person and only from a frontal attack. The teacher would have to lose use of one hand and arm in managing children. The teacher would also have to find the board in the chaos of a shooting. The teacher would then be protected while the kids behind him or her would be exposed. The magic board strikes me as more of a psychological than practice protection for these reasons.

What do you think?

Source: USA Today

88 thoughts on “Rational or Hysterical? Minnesota Schools District Buys Bulletproof Whiteboards”

  1. BURKESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities in southern Kentucky say a 2-year-old girl has been accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother, who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle he received as a gift.

    Kentucky State Police said the toddler was shot just after 1 p.m. CDT Tuesday in Cumberland County and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

    Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the children’s mother was at home at the time.

    White told the newspaper that the boy received the rifle made for youths last year and is used to shooting it. He said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a shell was left inside it.

    White said the shooting will be ruled accidental.

    An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

  2. Yeah I like it when the obvious is pointed out, font you OS…. Drift with it…

  3. Otteray,

    Regarding teens and suicide: Yesterday, I read a piece in the May 6th issue of The Nation. It touched on the rape of teenage girls and suicide. Here’s an excerpt from and a link to the article:

    In Rape Tragedies, the Shame Is Ours
    Jessica Valenti
    April 17, 2013

    It’s been just over a month since two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, were found guilty of raping an unconscious teenage girl. One of the young men, Trent Mays, was also found guilty of sending pictures of the assault to friends. Since then, the media have been gripped by two more incidents in which young women were gang-raped at parties and had pictures of their attacks distributed on social media. These young women, unlike the victim in Steubenville, did not survive.

    Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons was raped by four boys at a party outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. After months of torment and scorn from schoolmates who called her a “slut,” she hanged herself on April 4. Last September, 15-year-old Audrie Pott of California—raped while unconscious at a party, also humiliated when pictures of the assault were passed around—killed herself just eight days after the rape. Three 16-year-old boys were arrested in California in April on charges of sexual assault.

    What kind of world do we live in when young men are so proud of violating unconscious girls that they pass proof around to their friends? It’s the same kind of world in which being labeled a slut comes with such torturous social repercussions that suicide is preferable to enduring them. As a woman named Sara Erdmann so aptly tweeted to me, “I will never understand why it is more shameful to be raped than to be a rapist.”

    And yet it is: so much so that young men seem to think there’s nothing wrong with—and maybe something hilarious about—sharing pictures of themselves raping young women. And why not? Their friends will defend them, as they did in Steubenville, tweeting that the young woman was “asking for it” and that the boys were being unfairly targeted.

    Women and girls are the ones expected to carry the shame of the sexual crimes perpetrated against them. And that shame is a tremendous load to bear, because once you’re labeled a slut, empathy and compassion go out the window. The word is more than a slur—it’s a designation.

  4. OS, about suicides among the young: Very worthy topic for study. There was a case about 15-20 years ago in suburban Maryland (upscale residential suburb if I am not mistaken) of two young girls (in their teens) who made a suicide pact and killed themselves together in a public park. The reporting about it was spectacularly STUPID. Even the photographs that were published in the paper (not a tabloid!) were STUPID and there was something so wrong with the whole way the story was treated. I never got over the feeling of intense discomfort about it. At one point it hit me that the despair of these two girls was a different kind of despair from that noticed among, say, middle-aged people facing “failure” in their lives, or older people facing illness and deprivation, or adults facing humiliation and public shaming. For these girls, a form of destruction had worked its way into their own self-images. They could only see themselves “well” if they exited the contamination of the real world. One of them clearly saw herself as “Daddy’s little princess” before she killed herself. I wondered whom she really was killing.

  5. Humpindog, You’re correct. However, nuns are on the endangered species list. I know a kid who goes to a K-6 Catholic school and there are no nuns. That’s becoming the norm.

  6. Elaine,
    P.T. Barnum was right when he said a sucker was born every minute, and this story proves his point. Hopefully this too will pass, and soon. As was pointed out above, this whole gimmick is a stupid waste of taxpayer (and parent) money.

    In the meantime, some clever entrepreneurs with good marketing skills are going to make a pile of money. Money that could have been far better spent on security that actually works.

    I am still gathering data for a future story on child suicide, but my preliminary research shows that many more kids die of suicide due to bullying than from school invasions.

    The CDC reports suicide as being the third leading cause of death among young people. 4,400 school age kids kill themselves every year. For every single suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it. Those numbers are scary.

  7. humpindog:

    We are the girls of Norfolk High
    We neither smoke nor drink

  8. Schoolchildren May Soon Wear Bulletproof Military-Style Vests
    By Rebecca Leber
    Apr 28, 2013

    Post-Newtown, sales for bulletproof backpacks and whiteboards have soared as parents and school districts seek to take children’s safety into their own hands. The reaction is along the lines of what the National Rifle Association has promoted for months: that armed guards, and not gun regulation, is the answer to school shootings. Congress responded to parents’ concern by caving to pressure from the NRA and blocking the only serious federal attempt to pass gun safety legislation earlier this month.

    But if armed educators, bulletproof school supplies, and metal protectors weren’t enough, a company that offers ballistic safety equipment is marketing military-style vests for schoolchildren:

    The Denver company that supplied Jaliyah’s rucksack, Elite Sterling Security, has sold over 300 in the last two months and received inquiries from some 2,000 families across the US. It is also in discussion with more than a dozen schools in Colorado about equipping them with ballistic safety vests, a scaled-down version of military uniforms designed to hang in classroom cupboards for children to wear in an emergency.

    School districts in Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and California are already stocking up on bulletproof supplies, and one school in Maryland has amassed 80 ballistic shields in its classrooms. None of this equipment comes cheap, and the backpacks are only meant to stop a bullet from a handgun, not assault weapons like the one used in Newtown. A 2006 study of school shootings also raises questions of whether security measures like metal detectors are even effective.

    Psychiatrists warn that militarizing schools could cause long-term harm to children. “This is serving to increase their fear and their suspicion of their peers,’’ a psychiatry director told the Associated Press.

  9. [music] [To the tune of Over here over there we will hit the dustry trail]
    If a Nun should appear,
    Say Sister have a beer!
    In the cellar of Old John and James.,

  10. Humpin:

    That was tame compared to the one we sang in grade school. 🙂

  11. Here is a song from St. John & James grade school in Ferguson, MO from the early 1960s:

    Glory Glory Halleluyah,
    Sister hit me with a ruler
    I beaned her in the bean
    with a rotten tangerine…
    And school kept marching on!

    I went there in my prior life as a human before my present incarnation as a dog.

  12. If they could simply employ mean nuns with rulers the whole situation would be solved. Perps, terrorists, burglars, robbers, et al would not want to even drive by.

  13. makes about as much sense as those little parachutes for jumping out of burning buildings they came up with after 9/11.

    and don’t 1st graders have 2nd amendment rights? as long as they don’t have a prior felony.

    that’d make dodgeball real world experience.

  14. Bron:

    The effect of the bullet hitting the whiteboard or the person would be about the same but in holding the board there would be a slightly different effect in that the board would add to the total weight and there would be a dampening effect from it being held and somewhat absorbing the energy in the joints of the arms. Yet this would be minimal.

    Here is an example.

    In this video a ballistic shield is essintially freely hanging on a strap being shot by, what appears to be a 9mm MP5, a .44 magnum, and a 00 buck .12 gauge. It displays typical effects of being hit by bullets.

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