'Students armed with rocks': PA school-shooter defense plan gets creative

Posted at 9:58 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 21:58:00-04

(RNN) – One school district in Pennsylvania has sidestepped the debate over arming teachers with firearms by arming teachers, instead, with buckets of rocks.

Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, roughly two hours outside Philadelphia, appears to be completely earnest in its initiative to place the rocks in classrooms as a defense of last resort against school shooters.

“At one time I just had the idea of river stone, they’re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract,” the district superintendent, David Helsel, told a state education committee in testimony last week.

He told Reuters, “I thought they would be more effective than throwing books or book bags or staplers.”

Helsel told lawmakers that educators and staff have already undergone an active shooter training program, and classroom doors are outfitted to be difficult to break down. Students, too, have been trained how to barricade doors and participate in evacuation drills.

And, if it comes to it, now they also have the rocks.

It turns out it’s actually something of a popular idea, too.

“At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost, throwing rocks, it’s an option,” one parent, Dori Bornstein, told local news station WNEP.

A senior at Blue Mountain High School also told the station “it matters because it will help protect the schools.”

Others, however, called it “comical” and “absurd.”

Helsel was steadfast before the state committee in his belief the rocks could make a difference.

“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,” he said.

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