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US schools get bulletproof whiteboards

Bulletproof whiteboards are being introduced in some US schools as a last-resort effort of safety for teachers and students against shootings.
The schools include one where there was an attack ten years ago in which two students were killed.

The boards, which are 18-by-20in (46-51cms) use a material apparently stronger than police-issue bulletproof vests and can be used as a shield in an emergency.

Among the places where they are being installed is the Rocori School District in Minnesota which has acquired nearly 200 of them.

In 2003, a 15-year-old boy took a gun to the school and shot dead 14-year-old Seth Bartell and 17-year-old Aaron Rollins. The gunman, who is serving a life sentence, was convinced by a teacher to put the gun down.

The board's manufacturer, Maryland-based Hardwire, has been working on armor protection devices for military vehicles and personnel for years.
It turned its attention to school security after the Connecticut elementary school shootings last December that killed 20 children and six teachers.

Company officials said the whiteboards are already in schools in North Dakota and Maryland, and are being introduced in Pennsylvania and California.
However, at least one security expert questioned whether the boards would be effective.

Bill Nesbitt, president of school security consulting firm Security Management Services International, was not familiar with the whiteboards.

But he said his initial reaction was that they may provide a false sense of security. The prudent thing to do would be to retreat from danger rather than hide behind a whiteboard, he said.

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