School District Arms Students With Boatload of Rocks to Defend Against Shooters

Helsel told BuzzFeed News that the buckets filled with rocks, which they call "go buckets", have been in classrooms for two years now, and are a "last-resort" effort in the district's active school shooter defense plan, which also includes automatic door-securing technology, as well as lock-in and lockdown procedures.

However, if all else fails, and the shooter attempts to or successfully enters the classroom, the teacher and students will have the rocks to defend themselves.

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. He also added that throwing small rocks is just one small part of the district's security plan.

Before this, Helsel said the district "didn't really have a plan or program for armed intruders". "They're the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard, and they will create or cause pain, which can distract".

Helsel wrote on Facebook that the district will be putting armed guards in schools in a letter addressed to parents students and staff
Helsel wrote on Facebook that the district will be putting armed guards in schools in a letter addressed to parents students and staff

In a video posted online, the superintendent said the district chose to bring rocks to the classrooms after staff members took the active shooter response training, ALICE - alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. Helsel shared pictures of the river rocks that have been collected in buckets for the classrooms.

But others in the district mock the idea. Kenneth Trump, who is the president of the National School and Safety Services based out of Cleveland, says the idea of having rocks in a classroom is illogical and irrational, and it could possibly cost lives.

"We've been doing this long before the Florida thing; this was not a response to the latest tragedy".

Parent Dori Bornstein agreed: "At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost, throwing rocks, it's an option". And at least one parent supports using rocks as a defensive measure as well. "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".

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