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‘Look completely innocuous’: See how a Missouri company is building bulletproof furniture for schools

The functional whiteboards are bulletproof, mobile and weigh 400 pounds.

SULLIVAN, Mo. — 5 On Your Side is helping to search for solutions for the nationwide active shooter crisis in our schools. In the past, we’ve brought you stories about bulletproof furniture and shatter-proof windows in schools.

On a November Monday morning in Sullivan, Missouri, Paul Alexander took delivery of a half dozen steel backbones for his mobile, 4-by-6-foot, bulletproof school whiteboards.

At his factory, crews began the process of detailing the whiteboards with a wooden, decorative frame.

Executive Wood Products makes anti-ballistic furniture for schools, businesses and government offices to defend against active shooters. The finished product looks like it would belong in any office or school setting.

“This is how they come from the welding shop. They’re NIJ-III, National Institute of Justice, level III – it’s anti-ballistic protection,” said Alexander, owner of the company. “We designed an inverted fulcrum to make them very steady and easy to push. They have special castors. They’re balanced. They make an excellent foundation.”

Standing next to one of the door-size finished products, Alexander referenced several bullet holes in the cushiony tack material attached to one side.

“These are from handguns – 40-caliber, 9mm, 380, 357, 22.”

His show and tell session continued.

“Assault rifles – AK-47, AR-15. When the projectile goes in, the cushiony tack material will absorb it. So, when it goes in, it hits the steel. The steel stops the projectile, or the bullet,” he said.

Back in the warehouse, Alexander’s crews assemble raw material.

“The wooden parts are pre-cut and machined so they cover the bolts and hide all of the steel and anti-ballistic protection,” said Alexander. “What we want is for the panels to look completely innocuous. They should just look like a regular tack board or a whiteboard, or whatever piece of equipment they are, and not look anti-ballistic.”

The week of Nov. 21, 5 On Your Side is going along when Alexander trains administrators in a school district that has purchased some of the bulletproof whiteboards. Alexander said he has clients all across the nation and in 45 other countries.

Alexander is also planning a test where he wants to prove he stands behind his product, both literally and figuratively.

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