A Pennsylvania school district has placed a bucket of stones in each of its classrooms to be used for defense in the event of an active shooter.
Dr. David Helsel, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District, testified before Pennsylvania’s House Education Committee in Harrisburg last week about his decision to arm students with the world’s oldest form of weaponry.
“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,” Helsel told the committee.
He further explained to WNEP, “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 stones are kept in closets in each of the district’s classrooms.
Helsel added that the stones are not the only precautionary measures his district has taken.
He said the doors to the classrooms have been strengthened to make entry more difficult when the school goes into lockdown.
Further, Blue Mountain regularly conducts active-shooter drills, based on the ALICE program, which stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.
The training program was developed by a Texas law enforcement officer in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine shooting, according ALICE training company’s website.
The officer’s wife was a principal at an elementary school, and he wanted her to have a plan in place in the event of an active shooter.
Helsel told WNEP a maintenance man at the school is also a trained security guard and is armed.
The district plans to train and arm additional school personnel, as well.
Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month, President Donald Trump suggested arming gun-adept school faculty and other employees.
“When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones, it just puts our students in danger,” Trump declared at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month.
"When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones it just puts our students in far more danger"
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 24, 2018
He contended that teachers and other school personnel love their students and are in the best place to defend them.
Trump said those who are gun-proficient, like military veterans and sportsmen, probably make up at least 10 or 20 percent of any given school’s faculty.
The president further argued the added advantage of having designated conceal carry members of the faculty is that potential shooters will not know exactly who they will be facing, which will act as a deterrent.
“A teacher would have shot the h— out of (the Parkland shooter) before he ever knew what happened,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends anyone who finds themselves in an active-shooter situation to respond in one of three ways based on the circumstances.
First, run if there is a clear, accessible path. If that is not possible, hide in a place that is both out of sight and ideally, where bullets cannot penetrate. Lock and barricade the entrance to the hiding place, whenever possible.
Finally, if running or hiding is not an option, be prepared to fight.
DHS advises to seek to disrupt the shooter, including by throwing items and using other improvised weapons.
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