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Some Turn To School, Office Supplies That Double As Shields

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Worried parents and employees are taking self-defense into their own hands, purchasing bulletproof boards to protect themselves in the event of a mass shooting.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, the items look like typical school supplies — a whiteboard, a backpack and a clipboard. But if you take a closer look, they are actually bulletproof shields that can buy time if faced with school or workplace violence.

“If there’s an emergency, I want my people to have something to defend themselves,” said Bob Carpenter, who bought 15 bulletproof boards for his Delaware school.

“We have whiteboards here anyway,” he reasoned. “Why not have ones that are bulletproof if, God forbid, there is an emergency?”

It’s not just school administrators who are purchasing the armored supplies. Office workers, teachers and parents are also shelling out $300 a board to protect themselves and their children.

One of the most popular items is an insert that can make a backpack bulletproof.

The company that makes the boards, Hardwire Armor Systems, also manufactures armor for the military and says their boards can withstand ammunition from handguns, shotguns and small-caliber rifles — without ricochets. Hardwire also makes a bulletproof shield that can be affixed to the back of a classroom or office door.

New Jersey parenting expert Tammy Gold, a mother of three, said she thinks the boards are a good idea but are probably better suited for older children.

“If it’s something that someone could reach for if they were under attack and it could protect them but it wouldn’t cause them anxiety or upset them, I think that’s terrific,” she said.

But “when a child, a 5-year-old, is faced with being under attack, they may not remember what to do.”

Not everyone, however, is sold on the concept.

Former New Jersey State Trooper Dennis Tully said, in an age of shrinking school budgets, limited funds might be better spent on safety training.

“My feeling about products like these is that they provide a false sense of security,” he said.

Some parents are also skeptical.

“It scares me as a mom to think that’s what we need,” one woman said.

“I don’t know how practical a clipboard might be,” added one father.

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