Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania has unveiled a plan to arm its students with large rocks to defend themselves in the event of a school shooting.
“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel, testifying to the House Education Committee last week in Harrisburg.
“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,” Helsel told WNEP.
Helsel says teachers, staff, and students have received active shooter training through the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate (ALICE) program and they routinely hold evacuation drills for active shooter simulations.
But if a teacher decides to lockdown a classroom, Helsel says there are rocks in a five-gallon bucket kept in every classroom closet that students could throw if shooters get inside. He says the rocks are seen as a “last resort.”
“We have devices installed in our doors that help to secure them, to make it very difficult to break through,” said Helsel. “We also have, we train kids and talk about barricading the doors.”
A senior at Blue Mountain High School told WNEP that he and other students like that plan.
“It matters because it will help protect the schools, anything helps, rocks are better than books and pencils.”
Parents do as well.
“At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost, throwing rocks, it’s an option,” said Dori Bornstein.
But not everyone thinks the rock buckets are a great idea.
“I think that’s rather comical,” said one college student in Schuylkill Haven.
“It’s absurd, arm the teachers,” said a parent.
Helsel says the district has no plans to arm teachers, however, Blue Mountain does have a maintenance employee who is trained and certified to work as school security and is armed.
The district plans to have more support staff get the same training to act as security.