In 2004, the Maryland Hawk Corporation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically Black educational institution in Princess Anne, issued a $250,000 start-up loan to Hardwire LLC, a company based in Pocomoke City. The company’s founder George Tunis used the funds to develop stronger armor for U.S. military vehicles, aircraft, boats, and soldiers.
Now Hardwire LLC has developed a bulletproof whiteboard that is designed for use in the classroom as both a teaching aid and as a shield in case of an attack. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has purchased 200 of the white boards that will be used in classrooms this fall.
The white boards are 18 by 20 inches and can be used as portable teaching aids in the classroom. But they can also be used for protection. “Classroom safety is not a pleasant topic,” notes Juliette B. Bell, president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. “Unfortunately, campus violence is a reality that we have to be prepared for, and this technology allows us to be proactive rather than reactive.”
Tunis adds that the whiteboards are “similar to a fire extinguisher, which buys time for the fire department. The Bulletproof Whiteboard is a tool that buys time until the police arrive in an active-shooter incident.”