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Bulletproof bookcases for schools? Atlanta company makes protective furniture

Sales of bulletproof bookcases — the latest product to serve as a desperate last line of defense against a school shooting siege — have soared in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, massacre.

Pete Facchini, CEO of ProtecED Furniture, insists “lives would have been saved if they had our bookcase” at Robb Elementary School, where gunman Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers.

Co-founder and military veteran Jake Ahle said: Marietta Daily Journal that “the amount of interest we’ve gotten on our product is ten times what we’ve had for the past year and a half, two years because of what happened in Texas.”

The Georgia-based company produces bookcases made of steel on the outside and Kevlar, a bulletproof synthetic fiber, on the inside. They are on wheels so easy to maneuver and are fitted with a mirror so any would-be shooter trying to peek into a classroom will be greeted only by their own reflection.

According to the company’s website, ProtectED can be installed in schools for an average cost of $25 per student per year.

There are 475 students enrolled in Robb Elementary School. According to the company’s estimates, it would have cost $11,875 to secure the school.

The Texas Tribune reported that the school district received $69,000 in January 2020 to improve physical safety at the school.

Pete Facchini said he believes lives in Uvalde would have been saved if the school was equipped with his product

Pete Facchini said he believes lives in Uvalde would have been saved if the school was equipped with his product

According to the CEO,

The bookshelves are designed to blend into a classroom environment

According to the CEO, “numerous” schools in New Jersey are using the shelves, as well as offices in California, he also said people who run churches and synagogues have also asked about purchasing the shelves.

Facchini, also a military veteran with the US Army Special Operations Command, said: 11Alive in an interview: “All these mass shootings, the significant loss of life is because he gains access to the room.”

“If you look at the timeline from the first time the teacher called 911 to the moment he gained access to the building, those classrooms could have been locked in 15 seconds.”

After the shooting in Uvalde, a manufacturer of bulletproof backpacks reported an 800 percent increase in sales The Dallas Morning News.

Salvador Ramos, 18, who killed 22 people at Robb Elementary School on May 24.  The school district where Robb Elementary was located received a $69,000 grant to improve physical safety by 2020

Salvador Ramos, 18, who killed 22 people at Robb Elementary School on May 24. The school district where Robb Elementary was located received a $69,000 grant to improve physical safety by 2020

This image reflects the actions of Salvador Ramos on the day of the massacre in Uvalde

This image reflects the actions of Salvador Ramos on the day of the massacre in Uvalde

Law enforcement officers on the scene after mass shooting at Robb Elementary School

Law enforcement officers on the scene after mass shooting at Robb Elementary School

School surfacing for security against active gunmen has long been a controversial topic

School surfacing for security against active gunmen has long been a controversial topic

School surfacing for security against active shooters has long been a controversial topic.

In 2019, school safety expert Kenneth Trump told the National Education Associations website, “A skewed focus on goal hardening neglects the time and resources needed to spend on professional development training, planning, behavioral and mental health intervention support for students, and other best practices.” ‘

Jagdish Khubchandani, a public health professor at New Mexico State University, told The Texas Tribune in the wake of Uvalde, “This concept of hardening, the more it’s done, it hasn’t shown results.”

According to the company’s website, Facchini became interested in the idea of ​​finding a way to save lives at active shooting events after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

On that day, 32 people were killed by mad gunman Seung-Hui Cho on the school’s campus.

In an interview with CBS46, Facchini said, “That’s kind of what got me thinking, and when Sandy Hook happened, it was heartbreaking to think kids were trapped in a classroom.”

A promotional video on the ProtectEd website in which two children put the bookcase in place

A promotional video on the ProtectEd website in which two children put the bookcase in place

People pay their respects and leave tributes outside Robb Elementary School for the victims of the shooting, Uvalde, Texas

People pay their respects and leave tributes outside Robb Elementary School for the victims of the shooting, Uvalde, Texas

The trio came together to develop their product in 2020.

In 2021 Ahle . told Poets and Quantsa business school publication, that to test the quality of the boards, the company leased land in central New Jersey.

Ahle said rooms blocked by the planks could not be breached until explosives were used.

He said, “They couldn’t get into the room blocked by our bookcase until they used explosives. Only after explosives were they able to penetrate. Of course our product is not resistant to rocket-propelled grenades.’

Facchini said the company’s goal was to create something that would blend in with the classroom environment.

He said, ‘We didn’t want a kid sitting in the classroom looking at something every day and saying ‘that’s in the case of an active shooter.’

Facchini added, “My kids go to school in Cherokee County, my wife is a teacher in Cobb County, so my only interest is my family.”

According to the CEO, “countless” schools in New Jersey are using the shelves, as are offices in California. He also said that people who run churches and synagogues have also asked about purchasing the boards.

Ahle in the center, pictured with Facchini on the right next to production designer Tim Cahalin

Ahle in the center, pictured with Facchini on the right next to production designer Tim Cahalin

The principal of one of the New Jersey schools that bought the boards told the Daily Journal: “We as a country continue to be a reactive environment, so a company like this allows an administrator like me to be proactive in preventing these things. because, unfortunately, this violence does not end.’

The director chose to remain anonymous due to security concerns.

Ahle said the company wants to sign a contract in Georgia to help protect the schools where the company is located.

Facchini said in the CBS46 interview, “You know, the most catastrophic event is Sandy Hook, it’s Uvalde, when a gunman walks into a room and a bunch of people are trapped in there. So we wanted to tackle that, and I think this product does that perfectly.’

Facchini is a 20-year veteran of United States Army Special Operations. He fought in the War on Terror and is the recipient of three Bronze Stars. He has expertise in marksmanship, breaking through, close quarters combat and small unit tactics, according to his profile on the company page. website. He retired from the military in 2019.

He said he was completely absorbed in the idea of ​​building the product after his retirement from the military in 2019. Ahle and Facchini served together in the same army squadron. Ahle graduated from the US Army Ranger School and was an Airborne Infantry Officer.

The other founder of the company is Tom Ankenbauer, another military veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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