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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – On the morning after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, John Mehew and his wife had an important conversation about their elementary school-age children and their Parkland school.
“My wife and I were talking about this in the morning and said,’ What can we do about this?’ And she said, ‘John, let’s donate to our school. Let’s protect it,’” Mehew recalled.
And they did as Mehew was uniquely positioned as the president of a company called Ballistiglass to do something significant to help Heron Heights Elementary School.
Ballistiglass has been developing a product called Ballistiguard, which is a bullet resistant polymer. Mehew’s goal was focused.
“The real deal is making sure the gunman doesn’t get inside,” he said. “We want to deny entry.”
Mehew said Ballistiglass makes a bullet resistant product that is applied to existing windows and glass doors and prevents a bullet from going through it from the outside.
“When a bullet hits from this direction, the bullet flattens out and gets caught by the polymer,” Mehew said. “It’s not going anywhere.”
After making the proposal to the Broward School District, Mehew said the product underwent a rigorous evaluation.
“Broward Schools was nice enough to give us two school doors and we armored them,” he said.
Mehew showed us video of the glass in the doors being shot at during an independent test.
“It stopped all the bullets,” Mehew said. “It stopped all the penetrations. That was a good feeling.”
Earlier this month, the Broward School District approved the donation and Mehew showed us pictures of the product added to the school just before classes began.
From the photos, the product is barely noticeable and appears to accomplish Mehew’s goal of not making the school look like a jail or a bank vault.
Mehew says the product has another unique element.
It stops a bullet coming in but he says a round fired from a high caliber weapon can get out allowing a School Resource officer or other armed security person inside the school to fire out through it.
The donation earned raves from Broward School Board Member Abby Freedman at a recent school board meeting.
“You can’t put a price tag on the generosity that you have put forward,” Freedman said. “This will not only benefit your children now but you have left your mark on Heron Heights.”
For Mehew, it’s all about security for his kids and others.
“They’re in the safest environment they can be,” Mehew said. “And that’s a good feeling.”
CBS4 News asked a spokesperson for the Broward School District if this is something that might be considered for other schools in the county.
We were told that the school district could not confirm or discuss the security measures at a specific school and they referred CBS 4 News to an independent security review that was released last week.
However, Mehew said he has had conversations with a number of schools about possibly adding this product.