In the two years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, various ideas have been floated as ways to keep students safer at schools. Those ideas include better security systems and cameras, key-card entry systems, and panic buttons. However, these things don’t necessarily keep shooters outside the school for long enough to protect students and faculty before the police get there. One company is trying to change that.
School Guard Glass is a small start-up, according to The New York Times, and their goal is to thwart a would-be shooter’s ability to get inside the school for at least four to six minutes. At Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza shot out a window next to the front door. This ability means that, even under lockdown, a shooter can still get inside the school before law enforcement arrives.
The New York Times says that it took police three minutes, from the time of the initial 911 call, to arrive at Sandy Hook. If Lanza hadn’t been able to shoot through the glass so quickly, he may have still been outside when the police got there, and more people might have survived.
School Guard Glass is the brainchild of Christopher Kapiloff, who helped run his family’s glass installation business. As a father, he couldn’t sleep for three days after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The idea for a bullet resistant glass suitable for schools came to him just two weeks after the shooting.
Most of the clients for his family’s business, Kapiloff’s Glass, are already schools and businesses. Kapiloff’s Glass works with a materials laminator called the LTI Group, which manufactures a glass-coated polycarbonate plastic that’s resistant to bullets and explosions. Kapiloff says that a shooter with an AK-47 can stand five feet away from a door with this glass, and pump 30 rounds into it, and not a single one would actually penetrate the door.
The particular glass that School Guard Glass is developing is thin, and can crack when hit with bullets and blunt objects. It does, however, remain intact, making it much more difficult for someone to enter from the outside by simply shooting the glass out.
The price for one of School Guard Glass’s doors is roughly $1,000 to $2,000, far more in line with a school district’s price range than the typical bulletproof doors that banks and high-security buildings use. The glass itself is lightweight enough, and thin enough, that it can replace the glass in existing doors and windows. Schools do not necessarily have to order whole doors and windows to take advantage of this glass.
School Guard Glass hired an outside ballistics testing company to test how well the glass would stand up to various attacks. It held for more than ten minutes against a barrage from an assault rifle; as well as bricks, sledgehammers, a baseball bat and even steel-toed boots. In many areas, this would be more than enough to keep a shooter outside until the police arrive to deal with them.
This could be far more effective than the “moar gunz” mantra chanted by groups like the NRA, and by right-wing nutjobs like Sarah Palin. This obviously won’t help with someone who’s already inside the school, like a student or a teacher—someone who already belongs there. But for shooters who wish to enter the school from outside, this kind of glass, coupled with more standard security measures, could potentially save lots of lives.