Two Alabama classrooms now have $60,000 whiteboards that turn into gun, storm shelters
Cullman Alabama March 15 2023
Cullman City Schools unveiled a new safety system Monday that is meant to protect students during both active shooter events and natural disasters.
Two special education classrooms at West Elementary School are currently piloting the technology, developed by KT Security Solutions, which essentially turns a classroom whiteboard into a pop-out, standalone, bulletproof storm shelter.
The school is the first in the nation to test the safe rooms, which cost the district about $120,000 for both classrooms.
Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kalhoff said the system “can make a difference between life or death in the unimaginable school shooter situation.”
When the system is not deployed, it serves as a functional white board that a teacher can quickly pull out into a room that fits up to approximately 60 children or 20 adults.
“We can’t afford not to do anything. We’ve been having conversations for too long and someone has come up with a solution to solve the problem,” said state Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville), who was among other state, national and educational officials who attended the unveiling Monday. “I serve on the Budget Committee and so for me, this is something that’s needed and it’s something that I’m certainly on board with.”
Other officials present included Rep. Robert Aderholt, state Rep. Laura Hall, Alabama State School Superintendent Eric Mackey, representatives from Sen. Tuberville’s office and Wesley Britt, Sen. Katie Britt’s husband.
Hali Marquette, one of the special education teachers, said she typically leaves the room in use so she can have an additional instruction space for her students. The doors to the safe room lock from the inside and the lock is controlled by a teacher or administrator.
“I’ve started using it as a sensory space for my children,” said Marquette. “It’s an incentive…if you behave, if you do what is asked of you, you can go in and have some free time. So it’s been really good so far. They love it. And that’s the most important thing is making it a safe space for them.”
When asked what gave school officials enough confidence to have their schools be the first in the nation to use the technology, Alabama State Sen. Garlan Gudger said the system is a product of “data driven research to ensure it’s secure and safe.”