August 19, 2022

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Bulletproof protection pods for colleges draw internet’s ire. An expert weighs in : NPR

Mementos adorn a makeshift memorial to the victims of the mass capturing at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, Texas. To defend learners from energetic shooters and severe weather conditions, Nationwide Basic safety Shelters sells protection pods that can fit a classroom of pupils within.

Chandan Khanna/AFP through Getty Visuals


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Chandan Khanna/AFP by way of Getty Illustrations or photos


Mementos adorn a makeshift memorial to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. To guard students from energetic shooters and extreme weather, National Safety Shelters sells security pods that can healthy a classroom of students within.

Chandan Khanna/AFP through Getty Images

America’s universities can install “safety pods” at a charge of $15,000 to $30,000 for every typical classroom. The pods are National Safety Shelters’ remedy to university shootings and extreme weather conditions.

“The pods have been at first manufactured as twister shelters for colleges found in ‘tornado alley’ which now encompasses roughly one particular third of the U.S. and would seem to be increasing,” Dennis Corrado, the company’s president, mentioned in an e-mail to NPR. “Following the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012, the shelter structure was modified … with the intent of supplying them to faculties as a dual-purpose basic safety evaluate to defend from tornadoes and energetic shooters.”

Corrado said the pods ended up modified “employing NIJ ballistic Degree III steel generating them resistant to handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic higher-caliber weapons including AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles.”

But as facts of the pods, as well as their use in an Arkansas faculty district, were being publicized, the world-wide-web experienced some significant factors to say.

The Quitman College District in Arkansas has promoted its use of these pods.

The district claims on its Facebook web page, “Quitman Faculties is a very pleased companion of Nationwide Protection Shelters! Student protection is our leading precedence, and that is why every classroom on the Quitman campus is equipped with a military grade, ballistic steel shelter capable of withstanding an F5 Tornado.”

Instructors and directors also shared recommendations in guidance of the product, stating it gave them and their pupils peace of head.

(National Basic safety Shelters suggests the district was not offered any compensation or special discounts for the pods or for supplying staff members members’ recommendations on the firm’s web page.)

Amy Klinger, a school protection pro and the director of systems for the Educator’s Faculty Safety Community, thinks this kind of item is indicative of a broader difficulty.

“The trouble is that we are likely to reply to situations, like the tragedy in Uvalde, with a fast answer. Let us do a quick correct. Let’s acquire some thing actually quick,” she mentioned. “And we are inclined to appear at some thing shiny and go, ‘Hey, let us get that matter.'”

In Uvalde, Texas, a gunman killed 19 pupils and two lecturers at Robb Elementary Faculty in May. Considering that that taking pictures, revelations about slow police action and defective door locks have been posted.

“So obtaining a extravagant mechanism wouldn’t have modified just about anything,” Klinger stated of the Uvalde college capturing. “So I imagine that is the trouble with obtaining things. It will make people sense far better, but it essentially will make your college much less risk-free due to the fact it makes the illusion of basic safety when you really don’t truly have it.”

As a longtime college safety educator, Klinger says universities end up purchasing an product about a lot-necessary and desired teaching for personnel and lecturers. She says colleges really should favor what she calls “an all-dangers tactic to college basic safety.”

“You can get issues, but if no person appreciates how to use them, and no 1 is aware of what to do with them, or no one particular is mindful that they exist, then they did not do any very good,” she mentioned.

The protection pods “glimpse excellent” for circumstances like tornadoes, she said, but what about basic safety circumstances that go past that? Like if a college student is possessing an allergic reaction, or if a bomb goes off in the hallway, or if a trainer drops lifeless in the classroom, she reported. In all those cases, instruction will be the only point to enable any person in the vital moments pursuing these scenarios.

Corrado mentioned the protection pods are portion of a “multi-layered tactic” to college safety. Front-conclusion prevention contains blocking shooters from moving into a university campus in the initially location. The again-stop remedies are a security internet, should really those entrance-end strategies are unsuccessful.

“We really feel our protection pods give this safety-web and give individuals shielded a peace of mind not matched by most other measures because in close proximity to-absolute protection is instantly offered to all those whose lives are threatened,” Corrado reported.

Klinger thinks it is basically “earning cash on the backs of the anxiety that persons have. We have been prioritizing the wrong items around and over and over and then thinking why absolutely nothing changes.”