We’re guessing you’ve heard the old adage “bringing a knife to a gunfight?” Well, the Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania has a different idea of how students can fight off a mass shooter. And it isn’t armed teachers or metal detectors, it’s a bucket of rocks.
Approximately 2700 students attend school in the Blue Mountain district, just 90 miles North of Philadelphia. Their classrooms come stocked with the usual staples of public education like computers and textbooks. There is also plenty of concern about a mass shooting.
However, BMSD students feel safer because they have a weapon to fight off an armed intruder. Every elementary, middle, and high school classroom in the district, has a five-gallon bucket of river stones to throw at a shooter.
According to district superintendent David Helsel, the rocks give students a fighting chance. “We wanted to provide some type of last response to an intruder,” Helsel said, “rather than crawling under a desk and getting shot.”
When news of the policy, implemented last school year, began to spread, people questioned the effectiveness. And while we hate to dismiss the district’s attempts to be pro-active, we agree that this probably isn’t the best idea.
Realistically, when an armed gunman enters a school panic usually sets in quickly. While it’s true that throwing rocks towards the shooter might be a distraction, it’s nonetheless a risk for the students. Especially so for younger students, who may not fully understand the dangers.
Nevertheless, Helsel confirms that the river stones are just another tool to keep students safe.
“While I don’t like that we need to do this, this response is better than doing nothing,” he said. “If someone can provide a better last-ditch response to an armed intruder that’s trying to gain access to a classroom, then I would be open to any idea.”
Hopefully, his students will be more receptive to new ideas than the anti-gun student activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Wouldn’t want them to freak out over carrying clear backpacks or anything.