The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore is purchasing 200 bulletproof whiteboards to protect its professors from school shootings.

The lightweight, 18-by-20-inch bulletproof whiteboards are designed to protect the user's head and torso.

The university's president, Juliette Bell, told CNN that the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December, in which a lone gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, was a factor in the decision. Although UMES has not had a shooting incident, preventive campus security is a critical consideration, Bell said.

UMES has detailed response procedures for managing emergencies, but Bell said she and other school officials saw the whiteboards as viable a first line of defense.

UMES is the first U.S. institution of higher education to make such a significant investment in the whiteboards, committing nearly $60,000, said CNN. They will be in classrooms when classes resume for the fall semester on August 26.