A New Jersey school district is equipping its campuses with a couple of hundred of bullet-resistant shields to help protect students and teachers in the event of an active shooter situation.
A Gloucester City cargo company, Holt Logistics Corp., donated 250 shields to the Gloucester City School District, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday, and will deliver them to every school in coming weeks. Gloucester City High School will get three dozen shields.
Company President Leo Holt purchased 500 shields in total, each costing about $300 each. He also plans to donate the remaining 250 shields, likely to other schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which have contacted him, according to The Inquirer.
“We believe this is a very viable and worthwhile layer of protection for schools to have,” Holt told The Inquirer. “We’re encouraging folks to do this.”
The shields will be mounted on walls near fire extinguishers in the schools. During a demonstration on Wednesday at Gloucester City High School on how the shields will be used in schools, Gloucester City Police Chief Brian Morrell said any teacher, staff member, or student can grab the shield, hold it in front of them, to protect students while they flee the school.
“It’s about getting everyone else to safety or outside as quickly as possible,” Morrell said.
Gloucester City Police Chief Brian Morrill demonstrates bullet resistant shields that are being installed in schools to protect teachers and students in the event of an active shooter. Each costs $300. The Holt Logistics Corp. donated 250 shields. Follow my story @PhillyInquirer pic.twitter.com/t1kqClxNvg— Melanie Burney (@MLBURNEY) December 14, 2022
The announcement came on the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six adults were killed. As of Wednesday, there have been 49 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths, according to Education Week; this is the most that have occurred in a single year since the publication started tracking them in 2018.
Schools across the country have grappled with how students and educators should prepare if a shooter shows up on campus. For the last 20 years, lockdowns were established as the best practice for school safety when there is any kind of threat inside a campus, including active shooters, according experts.
In Massachusetts, some schools prepare through drills. A principal may announce a specific code word or notification about an intruder on the intercom, then teachers either evacuate kids from the building to a designated location, barricade themselves in the classroom, or hide students.