Pennsylvania school leader arms students with rocks in case of a shooting

Gregory Bonvillian

Gregory Bonvillian

David Helsel, the superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania, testified to the state's House Education Committee that classrooms in his district have been given buckets of rockets, an ABC affiliate reported. "If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned". According to The Hill, school safety procedures have been under the spotlight in the weeks following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

The tactic has been criticised by security expert Kenneth Trump, president of security consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, who called the idea illogical and irrational and said it could possibly cost lives.

"We have some people who have some pretty good arms". The district contains some 2,700 students at three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school.

The rocks, Helsel said, are seen as a last resort.

He said that the idea is to cause pain and distract the shooter. Helsel shared pictures of the river rocks that have been collected in buckets for the classrooms.

Let's repeat that for clarity: A Pennsylvania school district... has come up with the idea... of arming its students... with rocks... so that they can defend themselves... against the threat of potential school shooters.

'While I don't like that we need to do this, this response is better than doing nothing'.

To a parent from Schuylkill Haven, the idea is also silly. Dori Bornstein said, "At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost". And at least one parent supports using rocks as a defensive measure as well.

"Throwing rocks, it's an option". The district has no plans to arm teachers, but each school will train and certify a maintenance worker to carry a gun.

"School districts in Pennsylvania are so under-funded, then they joke about kids having to defend themselves", she said.

After the Parkland shooting in Florida, many are calling for legislators to implement stricter gun laws.

'We wanted to provide some type of last response to an intruder. rather than crawling under a desk and getting shot'.

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