Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania is backtracking on its superintendent's idea to arm students against school shooters with buckets of river rocks, after internet mockery simply became too much to bear.
Blue Mountain superintendent, Dr. David Helsel, appeared before a state committee and on television last week with what he thought was a brilliant plan to handle a potential school shooter without having to resort to arming teachers, or placing armed guards at school entrances. Helsel suggested that each classroom receive a bucket of river rocks that students could throw at a shooter in an emergency.
“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 local media.
“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,” he continued.
Critics on both sides of the partisan divide, who have often expressed their vehement disagreement with each other on the subject of school safety these past several weeks, were united in mocking Blue Mountain for what was clearly a bizarre and ineffective idea.
Blue Mountain told a local newspaper that it was shocked by the backlash, but that the criticism made them reconsider their plan. They'll keep the rocks, but they'll add an armed security guard whose job it is to defend faculty and students from mass shooters, and to handle emergency situations on campus.
The District issued a statement late Monday.
Blue Mountain has established emergency security guidelines for intruders in our buildings that are outlined by the ALiCE Training Institute. ALiCE stands for Alert, Lock Down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. This training calls for intruder emergencies to be handled in the following manner:
“1. Inform all building occupants that there is an intruder in the building.
“2. Alert the building occupants on where the intruder is in the building.
“3. Teachers need to evaluate whether it is safe to Evacuate their students from the building.
“4. Teachers who cannot evacuate their classes are to Lock Down their classrooms.
The stones, they say, are intended only as a last resort.
“5. Students and teachers in locked down classrooms are to put up physical barricades. If the intruder gets past these barricades, all students are to Counter their entry by throwing items at the intruder to inflict as much damage as possible and protect themselves.
For students' safety, the buckets will also now be kept in classroom closets, where their contents can't be pilfered and used on non-threatening students for target practice.