In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, a Pennsylvania school district has equipped its classrooms with buckets of rocks, according to The Hill. The superintendent of Blue Mountain School District, David Helsel, in Schuylkill County spoke at a state House Education Committee hearing on school safety this week.
“If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks,” he said. “And they will be stoned.”
The superintendent disclosed that the buckets of rocks are a “last-resort” in the district’s school shooter plan, according to BuzzFeed News. However, Helsel said that his idea to pelt an armed shooter is not a direct response to the Parkland shooting. The superintendent revealed that schools in the district have had buckets of stones ready to use in their classrooms for two years, according to reports. Helsel shared pictures of the river rocks that have been collected in buckets for the classrooms.
Helsel also told BuzzFeed News that the rocks are not the only plan for armed intruders. The district recruited the help of a company called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) that claims to have the “number one active shooter civilian response training.” The company trained teachers and students on what to do in the event of an active school shooting. The buckets of rocks are a “last resort” protocol, according to Helsel.
“If you have a five-gallon bucket full of river stones, and we have 25 students and a teacher, it will serve as a deterrent.”
The Pennsylvania school district is taking active steps to protect lives in the event of a shooting.
A Pennsylvania school superintendent says each classroom in his district has been equipped with a bucket of stones to use as a last line of defense against school shooters. https://t.co/VylmuaxFVG pic.twitter.com/enAxbs9Yul— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) March 23, 2018
Buckets of rocks may not be the best option, but doing something is better than doing nothing. The government is still undecided in its next line of action to prevent another school shooting. 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. One of the proposals on school safety by the Trump administration is for states to provide firearms training for school staff.
The decision to arm schools with rocks has come under criticism from the public and the media, but David Helsel has emphasized that it is a “last resort” if all other measures fail.
“Obviously a rock against a gun isn’t a fair fight, but it’s better than nothing,” the district superintendent told Fox News. “I’m not sure why some people feel that it’s more appropriate to be a stationary target under a desk in a classroom rather than be empowered to defend yourself and provide a response to deter the entry of an armed intruder into their classroom.”
The report has received mixed reactions from the community and the public.