Free-Range Kids

Bulletproof Whiteboards Could Soon Be Mandatory in Delaware Classrooms


free-range kids

Hard on the heels of the $1,000 security blankets that made news last week—essentially bullet-resistant yoga mats school kids can wrap around themselves in the event a crazed gunman bursts into the school but politely gives the teacher time to lug these things out of the closet—comes this new "school safety" bill being floated in Delaware:

Whenever a new school building is constructed or a major renovation undertaken…the construction or renovation must include…bullet resistant white boards in each classroom.

Yup, shields. Why study Sparta when you can experience the magic of ancient Greek defensive techniques for yourself?

The language in the bill is unclear: Is Delaware talking about just one whiteboard per classroom that a teacher can grab to save herself? (She'd probably have to change districts afterwards.)


Or is the state suggesting one board per child? If so, does anyone know if kids can actually hoist these things up? They look heavy. And at 18″ by 20″, they seem to be about the size of a CandyLand game. If a child holds it over her heart, doesn't that leave her head or stomach exposed? Or at least her legs?

On Amazon, the first shield that comes up costs $400—about the price of a laptop. Provide a classroom's worth, and that's $12,000. Add a couple more classrooms and you could pay for a part-time art teacher. Or a librarian. Or even a statistics class to explain the fact that, though indisputably horrific, school shootings are so rare and random that preparing for them with a stack of Magic Marker–friendly bullet deflectors is like investing in tarantula-proofing: A lot of work and money for a dubious bump in public safety.

Sounds like Delaware is either friends with the bulletproof white board industry (such as it is) or so hysterical with fear that any solution sounds pretty good. Even when it's pretty bad.

For more stories like this one, check out Lenore Skenazy's Free-Range Kids blog.

NEXT: When the NRA Opposed Open Carry

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  1. “They called me old-fashioned for teaching the duck-and-cover method, but who’s laughing now!”

    1. I’m an advocate of the “run like hell” method. Zig-zag a little if they start shooting at you.

        1. Damn you FoE! Damn you to hell!

          1. I agree. That was such a pointless remake they did.

      1. Serpentine!

  2. Armored school uniforms are the way to go. Get them ready to earn their citizenship in the armed forces.

    Would you like to know more?

    1. Service guarantees citizenship!

      With what I’m paying for school uniforms next year for my kid, the things may as well be bulletproof. Good gawd they have a racket.

    2. Studies have shown that the most effective student armor is a backpack full of heavy books. Homework is for your own safety, kid.

  3. That’s not going to be terribly effective. Why not staff classrooms with School Marshals, like Sky Marshals? Instead of a bulletproof whiteboard (what, are chalkboards dead, now?), I envision a whiteboard that retracts, revealing a manned 50 cal. machine gun.

    1. Instead of a bulletproof whiteboard (what, are chalkboards dead, now?)

      My god, you probably remember a time before alt-text, too.

      1. Really. No chalkboards in your educational experience?

        1. I think in Vermont they use wood carving cuneiform, or maple syrup or something.

          1. Close. It was wood burning. All assignments had to be turned in on college-ruled oak.

        2. Chalkboards were around too, all the way through grad school. I don’t think whiteboards popped up till high school, but that’s more due to attending poor rural schools with old equipment.

        3. Hey, at least then they can’t make you stay after school and clean the erasers.

          1. Kids today know nothing of the wonders of the mimeograph, either.

            1. I was talking to a friend’s (younger) wife the other day, and she had never heard of a mimeograph machine. I think I have purple stains on my fingers to this day.

              1. “(younger) wife”


              2. I’ll confess I just googled it to confirm that it was what I that it was.

                1. You know nothing if you don’t know the smell of mimeograph fluid.

        4. We had a few chalkboards in elementary school, but the middle school, jr. high, and high school I went to were all newly built/expanded. Whiteboards in every classroom, and I remember explicitly our class doing some beta testing for “smart” boards in 5th or 6th grade and them sucking pretty badly.

          Chalkboards made a comeback in undergrad, but they’re using whiteboards in my law school.

          1. It’s smartboards all around in our school districit – and we have the taxes to prove it.

          2. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m the “not super old geezer” here.

            1. That’s how it works. One moment, you’re the young guy. Then you aren’t.

              1. Well, I’ve been the young guy for about 8 years now.

                1. Oh, you’re near the end.

  4. OT- MSM can no longer ignore actual inflation:…../10642375/

    1. This is Liar-known-as-Shreek bait.

    2. When the price of the oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie at Potbelly increases by 25%, don’t fucking tell me that there’s no inflation.

  5. Can we get a couple samples down to the Box O’ Truth guys?

    1. Didn’t T-Man or whatever his friend’s name was die a couple of years ago?

  6. o/~ When Captain America hurls her mighty shield / All others who oppose her shielf must yieeeeeellldddd…. o/~

  7. Just put armed guards, gates, and concertina wire. Might as well make the starter prisons more like actual prisons.

  8. (She’d probably have to change districts afterwards.)

    Or even a statistics class to explain the fact that, though indisputably horrific, school shootings are so rare and random that preparing for them with a stack of Magic Marker?friendly bullet deflectors is like investing in tarantula-proofing: A lot of work and money for a dubious bump in public safety.

    Lenore brings the good snark. Awesome.

    1. To be fair though, I think tarantuala-proofing is a good idea.

      1. My pants are tucked into my socks as we speak.

        1. But what if the tarantula had *already* gotten in there? NOW ITS LOCKED IN WITH YOU!

          1. Body odor can be a weapon.

            1. Not against clock spider…

              there is no weapon against clock spider


    2. Now you’ll look like the asshole when some kid brings his pet tarantula to school and the janitors and security guards lack the proper anti-tarantula gear. And none of the teachers were certified to stop tarantulas. And then people hear that you never once had an anti-tarantula drill? Are you on the tarantula’s side?

  9. 30 kids in a classroom? You must be out of touch with the teachers unions push to shrink classroom sizes to improve teaching (but really to increase demand for teachers).

    1. What? Are you suggesting a sainted group like teachers would put thier own interests ahead of everyone elses?

  10. If only they could make schools administrator proof.

    1. I made my house child-proof, but they kept getting back in.

      1. It’s because your wife kept smuggling them in her womb.

      2. You really need to child proof your whole life in order for it to work.

        Consider growing a beard and a gut.

        Stop showering.

        Start collecting Magic Cards and Erotic comic books and discuss your new hobbies in detail at all social gatherings.

        1. I happen to know a couple of instances where even this did not work….

  11. Hard on the heels of the $1,000 security blankets that made news last week?essentially bullet-resistant yoga mats school kids can wrap around themselves in the event a crazed gunman bursts into the schoo

    Has anyone noticed how public institutions now treat active-shootings like they treat earthquakes? “Huddle under your desk and pray”.

    No discussion about agency any more. Just duck and cover and wait for it to pass.

    1. If everyone follows the rules, no one can get in trouble. Some people might die…but at least it won’t be you. And if you do soemthing, and survive, but don’t follow the correct rules and procedures, you’re fooked.

  12. Why can’t they just invent those Wonder Woman bracelets and be done with it?

  13. Delaware? Isn’t that home to the Kevlar-producer DuPont??? Give them some time, and it will be Kevlar vests for every pupil. Nothing is too good for the childrunz.

  14. I propose outfitting every classroom in Delaware with alt-text, for the low cost of $500 a room.

  15. And that, my friends is why you don’t bring a blackboard to a gun fight..oh, wait…

  16. Holy DuPont! It’s already been tried.

  17. If a child holds it over her heart, doesn’t that leave her head or stomach exposed?

    That’s why the ‘collective’ is so important. Teach the little buggers to form a shield phalanx. SPARTA!

    1. Give each kid a pilum and you might have something…

      1. [Vivid mental image of phalanx of fourth graders, bristling with pilum, advancing down grade school hallway on shooter]

        1. Pilum were designed to be thrown, so at least a few of the stronger kids would be chucking them at the shooter, too.

          1. Imagine the 4th graders advancing down on the shooter, under cover of a tight shield wall. As they get in range they let fly the pilum and advance at a run, crashing the shield wall into the gunman.

            Then they draw their gladii and proceed to butcher the fuck out of the dude.

            All in grim silence, even their wounded are too disciplined to scream out.

            1. We can put it on pay-per-view, and it’ll be net revenue-generating on net.

              I think the problem is we’ll run out of shooters pretty fast after the outcome is televised.

  18. The really stupid part is what the heck are students going to do with an 18×20″ whiteboard that won’t lay flat against anything because of the handles, and therefore can’t be written on?

    Suggestion: Give the people voting for this a shield, line them up, and turn the students loose with supersoakers.

  19. I live in Delaware. Last year my (then) 6th grader didn’t even get text books to bring home because there were not enough to go around (they had share a common set of books in the classroom and all at-home studying had to be done from handouts/photocopies). But somehow there will be money for this?

  20. There’s been a misunderstanding. The schools just want to avoid replacing all those bullet-riddled whiteboards.

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