- A Pennsylvania school district equipped each classroom with rocks in case of active shooters.
- The superintendent said it’s meant to be a “last-ditch response to an armed intruder.”
- Schools have been floating various school-safety measures in the wake of last month’s high-school shooting in Florida.
As school districts across the country debate the merits of arming teachers or installing metal detectors to prevent active shooters, one Pennsylvania district has apparently equipped each of its classrooms with five-gallon buckets of river stones, instead.
Blue Mountain School District superintendent David Helsel testified before the state’s House Education Committee on March 15 and informed lawmakers of his district’s solution to active shooters.
“We have equipped each classroom with a five-gallon bucket of river stone,” Helsel said in his testimony. “If an armed intruder attempts to gain entry into our classrooms, they will face a classroom of students armed with rocks. They will certainly feel pain when being pelted with stone.”
Helsel’s testimony came in the wake of a mass shooting on February 14 at a Florida high school, which left 17 people dead. Ever since, local and federal lawmakers have floated various school-safety measures to prevent or stop mass shootings, though Helsel said the buckets of rocks have been in place in his district since last fall.
Even the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, the site of last month’s shooting, announced it will soon require students to use clear backpacks in an effort to prevent weapons from entering the campus.
Helsel told ABC News the buckets of stones are intended to be a “last-ditch response to an armed intruder,” and said in his testimony that the school district’s staff and students are trained in lockdown and evacuation procedures they’re meant to follow first.
Helsel also said that the district doesn’t currently plan to arm teachers with guns, though he noted that one maintenance staff member is armed and has received security training.
Instead, classrooms are equipped with “a device that makes entry into a classroom extremely difficult, if not impossible,” Helsel said.
And if an intruder does manage to enter, that’s where the rocks come in, he said.
“How can you aim a gun if you’re being pelted with rocks?” Helsel told ABC News.
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