Orwigsburg, PA – The school superintendent in Schuylkill County said that the district had no plans to protect students by arming their teachers with guns; however, they have provided every classroom with a five-gallon bucket of river rocks to throw at any potential attackers.
“If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned,” Blue Mountain School District Superintendent Dr. David Helsel told state legislators last week, according to KTVI.
Helsel credited himself for having realized the potential of using stones against school shooters.
“At one time I just had the idea of river stone,” Helsel said, according to KTVI. “They're the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract.”
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The district also provided students, teachers, and staff with active shooter training, and continued to hold regular evacuation drills to better prepare for a potential attack, he said.
The students have also been trained regarding barricading classrooms doors, and special devices have been installed in the doors, making them “very difficult to break through,” Helsel explained.
The buckets of river rocks, which were stored in the closet in each classroom, were intended as a last resort, he said.
Blue Lives Matter's Editor-in-Chief reviewed the idea and offered some support.
"It's actually not as stupid as it may sound to arm students with rocks," he said. "Normally, they'd be trained to barricade in the classroom, and if the shooter makes entry, throw books or other objects and then attempt to swarm the gunman. Rocks could be a more effective alternative to books. It's great that the school is getting some modern training."
"Although it's not clear why adults in the school wouldn't take responsibility to be armed with more modern weapons," he added.
Students seemed to like the idea of rocks.
“Anything helps,” one student told KTVI. “Rocks are better than books and pencils.”
While some parents endorsed the idea, others weren’t convinced and would still like to see the faculty armed.
“It’s absurd. Arm the teachers,” one parent told KTVI.
According to Helsel, Blue Mountain School District had no intention of arming teachers, but the district does have a single maintenance employee who is armed and trained to work school security.
Additional support staff may also be trained to act as security, he said.