Parents nationwide felt worry for their children’s safety after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. One dad in Arizona turned that worry into action, starting a business that could save lives, KNXV-TV reported.
John Birdsell of Flagstaff founded School Security Solutions, a business he used to design a bulletproof school desk.
“I just thought of my own son’s safety and for the safety of the other kids, this seems like a very simple solution,” Birdsell said.
What’s the story?
Birdsell, who has a son in seventh grade, realized that the threat of a school shooting was something that might always exist. So he decided to do something that might protect students and teachers if it ever happens again.
He designed the bulletproof desk using bullet-resistant Armorcore fiberglass, which is marketed as a material that can protect against “multiple shots from a military assault rifle.”
Birdsell told KNXV that he wanted to give kids a reasonable chance of survival should they ever find themselves having to take shelter in a classroom. Students can quickly flip the desk on its side and hide behind it for protection.
“If you require kids to shelter in place, you need to provide them with some sort of realistic shelter,” Birdsell said.
The desks are pricey, selling at $1,650 each right now, presenting a challenge for Birdsell to get them in schools that often deal with strained budgets for necessities.
He didn’t consult with education officials when he designed the desk, but said schools could try to get donations to pay for them if they’re interested.
School security debate
Birdsell’s is just the latest in a variety of proposed solutions for making schools more secure against intruders.
Some schools in rural Oklahoma have installed bulletproof storm shelters that kids can retreat into during an active shooter situation, while other schools are planning to allow teachers and staff to carry firearms, if they haven’t already.
Other potential safety measures that have been used include metal detectors at entrances, doors that lock remotely, and bulletproof backpacks.
“I think it’s kind of a sad fact of today’s society that we even have to spend our time out here in a parking lot talking about something like that,” Birdsell told KNXV.