WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Hard to believe, but summer is coming to an end and kids across the region are getting ready to go back to school.
There's a nagging fear for some parents -- the risk of a school shooting. A Maryland company has a unique plan to keep children safer.
The Baltimore Sun calls it the Clark Kent of school supplies: an innocuous looking white board -- that can stop bullets.
After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, a dad on Maryland's Eastern Shore decided to harness technology he'd developed to keep troops safe. He calls it a peace dividend for classrooms.
"Our white boards are actually lighter than a regular white board, but in the event of an emergency, or God forbid, a shooter, it becomes a piece of personal protection for the teacher," says George Tunis of Hardwire LLC.
Some schools safety experts are skeptical. NPR quotes Cathy Paine of the National Association of School Psychologists "It's such a rare event that an armed intruder will come in - there's a 1 in 2.5 million chance it will happen," she says. "We want to have comprehensive safety programs, we want to be prepared, but we should be looking at what are the likely crises."
At $300, the Hardwire whiteboard can stop bullets from a handgun or pellets from a shotgun. For $900 a heavier-duty ballistic shield is designed stop a round from an assault rifle.
"It's literally like having 100 very tightly woven spider webs all interconnected and then pressed under very high pressure," says Tunis.
Teachers are still trained to run first, then hide, but if they have to, to fight.
At a Minnesota that's suffered through a shooting, police officers urged staffers to use it as a last ditch offensive weapon. "Imagine this," says one, nearly slamming the Hardwire board into a colleague's neck.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore just became the first college to buy the white boards. It's purchased 200 of them for $60-thousand.
Some critics scoff that determined shooters will just fire at unprotected people or body parts. But Hardwire says the white board offers at least some protection for innocents who are under attack.
Our school safety expert Ed Clarke says he's intrigued by the Hardwire white board, but he says it cannot replace training and preparedness.