Father designs bulletproof desk to improve school safety

**Embargo: Phoenix, Ariz.** Horrified after the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, an Arizona father took it upon himself to try and improve safety for kids at schools.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (KNXV) — Horrified after the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, an Arizona father took it upon himself to try and improve safety for kids at schools.

John Birdsell, who lives in Flagstaff, started a company called School Security Solutions and designed a school desk made with bullet-resistant fiberglass.

Birdsell said the shooting at a high school in Florida spurred him to get to work, as he has a son in the 7th grade.

“If you require kids to shelter in place you need to provide them with some sort of realistic shelter,” Birdsell said.

Birdsell told ABC15 in the unfortunate event kids need to take cover, you can flip the desk on its side and use the table to shield students. Birdsell built the desk using bullet-resistant fiberglass by Armorcore, which touts online the corresponding panels can provide “protection against multiple shots from a military assault rifle.”

“This is a lot better than nothing,” Birdsell said.

Birdsell admits he did not consult with any education officials when designing the product, but hopes to find interest when he reaches out to school districts to gauge interest this week. He is selling each desk for $1,650. According to Birdsell, each table can potentially shelter six to eight students, depending on the size of the children. That considered, he calculates the cost over the life of the table is less than .08 cents per student per day.

ABC15 asked Birdsell if there is interest in his product, how he expects school districts to find the money to pay for the desks. If the districts can’t afford them, he suggested they could solicit donations.

“I just thought for my own son’s safety and for the safety of other kids this seems like a very simple solution,” he said.

Birdsell isn’t sure if he will find any clients, but wants to offer at least what he considers a solution. He says the number of school shootings is a major concern.

“I just think it’s kind of a sad fact of today’s society that we even have to spend our time out here in a parking lot talking about something like that,” Birdsell said.