Bulletproof whiteboards to protect against mass shooters fitted in Alabama classroom

A school system in Alabama has spent six figures on a pair of bulletproof whiteboards that swing out from the wall to create enforced panic rooms to protect against mass shooters, AL.com reported.

The structures are also designed to function as storm shelters.

"Two special education classrooms at West Elementary School are currently piloting the technology, developed by KT Security Solutions, which essentially turns a classroom whiteboard into a pop-out, standalone, bulletproof storm shelter," AL.com reported.

"Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kalhoff said the system 'can make a difference between life or death in the unimaginable school shooter situation.' When the system is not deployed, it serves as a functional white board that a teacher can quickly pull out into a room that fits up to approximately 60 children or 20 adults."

Alabama school gets whiteboards that convert to bulletproof shelters youtu.be

Many other efforts to "harden" schools against shootings, like the installation of metal detectors at entrances or the deployment of school resource officers, have become controversial, as these measures inherently criminalize and place suspicion on children; resource officers in particular have let to increased arrests of Black students, often from incidents that never needed to be criminal matters. Above all, there is little evidence these militarizations of schools actually prevent shootings at all.

But some teachers have welcomed the new popup safe rooms, saying that they can double as a therapeutic space for children in distress.

“I’ve started using it as a sensory space for my children,” said special education teacher Hali Marquette. “It’s an incentive…if you behave, if you do what is asked of you, you can go in and have some free time. So it’s been really good so far. They love it. And that’s the most important thing is making it a safe space for them.”

Recent data suggest that violent crime in the United States, including overall shootings, is decreasing after a brief post-pandemic surge in some parts of the country. However, mass shootings specifically, defined as an incident with four or more casualties, have risen this year.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed the first federal gun legislation in 30 years, enhancing background checks, boosting arms trafficking enforcement, incentivizing state "red flag" laws, and closing a federal loophole that lets unmarried domestic abuse suspects obtain guns, among other things. He followed up with an executive order this month, expanding the definition of a firearms dealer to subject more gun sales to background checks. Further legislation, however, including fully universal background checks or a ban on "military-style" semiautomatic rifles, is widely expected not to be taken up in Congress for the foreseeable future.