While congress and Donald Trump is contemplating whether or not to arm teachers to protect against school shooters, a school district in Pennsylvania has a completely different idea. The out of the box idea is to fight school shooters the way the Palestinian people fight against the great armed forces of Israel.
David Helsel, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in rural Schuylkill County, testified earlier this month before the state House Education committee, saying arming students with rocks is a part of the district’s strategy to protect them against the threat of violence.
“We always strive to find new ways to keep our students safe,” Helsel told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, adding that the rocks are one small part of the district’s overall security plan.
Staff and students in the Blue Mountain district have been trained in a program called “ALICE,” which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. As part of the program, he said, every classroom has a 5-gallon bucket of rocks that students could use to “stone” a school shooter, if need be.
The district has about 2,700 students at three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.
During his House testimony on March 15, Helsel was asked if slingshots are allowed to help the students pummel the intruder.
“No,” he said. “We have some people who have some pretty good arms. They can chuck a rock pretty fast.”
He went on to say the process of equipping the rooms with rocks was “pretty easy” and involved a dump truck and a landscaper.
In the end, he said, the rocks are “nice, they’re smooth, and you can really hurtle them pretty quickly, and hard.”
Republican Rep. Harold English is on board with the plan.
“I commend your practical thinking,” he said.
On the larger issue of arming teachers, Helsel said his district would not arm teachers, although some maintenance staff serve a duel role, including being armed security.