Instead of arming teachers with firearms, one Pennsylvania school district superintendent wants to arm his students with five-gallon buckets of stones.
David Helsel, superintendent of a school district in northeast Pennsylvania, explained his plan to a legislative education committee last week, drawing a flurry of local media coverage.
“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone,” Helsel explained about his Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County outside Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, in a video broadcast by ABC affiliate 16 WNEP. “If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned.”
Helsel described the bucket of rocks, which will be kept in classroom closets, as a “last ditch” option to use as an alternative to students hiding passively under desks.
“At one time, I just had the idea of river stone,” Helsel said. “They’re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard, and they will create or cause pain, which can distract.”
“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.
Throwing rocks is more effective than just crawling under desks and waiting, and it gives students and teachers a chance to defend themselves, he said. The district has about 2,700 students at three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.