A Massachusetts startup named School Glass Guard aims to prevent tragedies like that at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a shooting which claimed the lives of twenty children and six staff members two years ago, by fortifying the glass windows in schools.
The unique glass amplifies school security by delaying any attackers outside the buildings from entering for at least four to six minutes, giving law enforcement enough time to reach the scene. It consists of a thin glass which, though it can crack, stays firm and intact when struck with bullets or blunt objects like bats and sledgehammers.
The concept of School Guard Glass is the brainchild of Christopher Kapiloff, a co-owner of his family’s business, Kapiloff’s Glass, and came just two weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
A father of three children, Kapiloff was driven by the fear for the safety of schoolchildren.
Working with a materials lamination company, the LTI group, and his own experience with schools and security buildings, Kapiloff focused on producing an affordable means of stalling violent intruders from breaking into schools, writes Claire Martin of The New York Times.
School Guard Glass was founded in the spring of 2013 by Kapiloff and co-owner of LTI group, Jeff Besse. The retrofit panel is designed to fit in quarter inch doors and window frames, making it compatible for most of the schools, homes and businesses in the country. The sale of the glass has already reached $750,000 this year and is expected to go past $1.25 million the next.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut, schools have been granted millions of taxpayer dollars to strengthen to doors and windows of schools in the state. The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Services states that the money has been used in improving the security systems with surveillance cameras, better locks, card reading entry systems and panic buttons. However, none of these safety mechanisms are capable of holding off an attacker beyond the building — and that is where School Guard Glass comes into play.
The glass is a much cheaper alternative to the bulletproof glass used in high-security buildings and is relatively thinner. Its composition allows it to be lighter, enabling doors to support its weight. Although Kapiloff and his partner, Foster Goodrich, have not disclosed the secret of its durability, they have guaranteed that it withholds attackers, writes George Colli of NBC Connecticut.
“That surprise factor is what really allows you to gain the time necessary to put in protocols and procedures and have first responders arrive in time. Our glass prevents people from getting in.”
Another alternative that is rising in popularity is 3M Corporation’s security film, which holds all the glass within the frame even when the glass is broken. The film comes in different strengths from 6 millimeter to 14 millimeter thickness. Bill Pettit, 3M’s security film marketing manager stressed how the film, like School Glass Guard, slowed down an attacker’s chances of entering the building.
“In the state of Connecticut, easily over 200 schools have installed 3M safety and security films.The purpose of the 3M window film is to hold the glass in place. Once the glass is broken, all that glass stays inside the frame.”