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:
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.