why though

An Alabama Elementary School Is Testing $60k Whiteboards That Turn Into Safe Rooms

Because banning assault rifles couldn’t possibly be a better solution to stop gun violence in schools.

The rapid-deploy safe room folds out from a floor-to-ceiling classroom whiteboard that can expand in...
Twitter / @GillianBNews

Those who vehemently oppose any sane and proven measures to help lower gun violence stats — such as stricter gun laws, increased background checks, and banning assault rifles — have come up with yet another costly idea to “help” students and teachers stay safe in the case of an active shooter.

First, it was bulletproof backpacks, arming teachers, and removing all outside doors from school buildings. Now, the preventative measure to reduce gun violence in schools has moved onto something even more Black Mirror-esque.

Introducing: extremely expensive classroom whiteboards that convert into bulletproof safe rooms.

Sometimes it feels like the country is trying anything but gun control and more mental health support to solve the problem — even though research shows us that’s what the two problems are.

That’s not to say the intentions of founder and CEO of KT Security Solutions, Kevin Thomas, are not pure.

Thomas said that he came up with the Rapid-Deploy Safe Room System after the horrific mass school shooting that unfolded in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead.

The safe room folds out from a floor-to-ceiling classroom whiteboard that can expand in less than 10 seconds. The safe room can act as a ballistic shield for students and teachers in case of an active shooter. When expanded, it locks from the inside and can only be unlocked with a key.

Thomas took his original idea to Alabama State Senator — Garlan Gudger — who connected him to Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff. Soon, the pilot program for the safe room system began in West Elementary School in Cullman, Alabama.

“Our goal here is to give every kid an opportunity to go home in the evening,” Thomas told WBRC.

“This is not going to fix the issues that cause these things. But it’s going to give us a protective way to go until we figure that out as a community and as a nation.”

Right, having underpaid teachers hurriedly turn their math lesson into a military-grade safe room for their students will not totally solve the issue that the United States cannot to get a grasp on.

You know what will though? Several measures that other countries have put into place that are already proven work.

“I'm a father of four children and send them to public schools. Even as a superintendent or not superintendent, it's my expectation schools keep our children safe. It is a priority in all of our schools. If it's access entry to buildings, cameras, school resource officers,” Kallhoff told ABC 3340. “We are fortunate to have all of those.”

Two classrooms in West Elementary currently have the first of its kind Rapid-Deploy Safe Room System.

Lawmakers were in attendance for the big reveal of the safe room, such as Republican State Senator Garland Gudger and U.S. Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt, both showing support for the idea.

“I think it's something we should really consider from a state perspective and a country perspective. It's all about how do we protect our children and protect those who people who work in our schools," said Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, who was also in attendance.

Each of these safe rooms costs just under $60,000 each. State leaders and education leaders both hope to get state and federal funding to implement more of these systems around the country.

“If we can show the state and the country, this is what we can do, then maybe we can pick up funding to where every school can have one of these or multiple rooms like this,” said Kallhoff. “We're always thinking how can we keep our kids safe and allow our teachers to teach and do what they are paid to do.”

Getting this project federally funded would be pretty tough, though, considering that there are about 130,000 K-12 schools in the country and each of those schools has dozens of classrooms. just getting one bulletproof safe room in each school would cost the country around $7.8 billion.

Not to mention that it won’t protect much of anyone from the hundreds of mass shootings that take place outside of the school room.

Sometimes it feels like lawmakers will do anything except consider reasonable gun control laws or improve the safety net that protect our mentally ill.

These are the same GOP lawmakers who are in support of bill after bill that work to bring down and erase LGBTQIA+ people, ban books like Catcher In The Rye and The Bluest Eye (because I guess kids can’t handle those “mature, adult themes”), and claim they are very “pro-life.” They are also the ones who claim to hate big government spending.

However, they are a-okay with elementary aged kids witnessing their teacher put together a $60K “safe room” to protect them from someone walking around the halls with an AK-47. Makes sense.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if the “safe room” in the school was the actual classroom itself? A mom can dream.