Anyone with any common sense and even the most tenuous grasp on reality probably shook their heads in disbelief when it was reported that a rural Pennsylvania school district had equipped all 200 of its classrooms with buckets of river rocks for students and teachers to use as a “last line of defense” in the event of a school shooting. Now it is reported that teachers in another Pennsylvania school district have been given district-issued, 16-inch long wooden baseball bats to fight a school shooter because the district wanted to have a “consistent tool” for all teachers should they need to engage an attacker.
You really must wonder what these folks are thinking.
Given, the tiny baseball bats are a reminder and more of a promotional thing – but the river rock one was supposed to be taken seriously.
But the fact is that neither are serious responses to the potential of anyone walking into a school with the intent to commit violence – whether with a rifle, a handgun or even a bigger baseball or rock. Actually, the kids themselves could probably come up with a better solution – I don’t know about today (with all the anti-gun propaganda) but in times past, I’m pretty sure if you asked an average third grade boy at the school I attended how to respond to an attack on the school, they would have said the best way is with a gun (or maybe a tank, a bazooka or an airstrike).
It’s not debatable that schools are at risk for yet another tragedy – as are most public spaces in an open society. The past is proof of that. Billy Shakespeare noted “What’s past is prologue” – but it doesn’t have to be.
The old saying goes that you can tell what is important to someone by the amount of attention the pay to it relative to other interests and it is also true that what is important to us, we protect. Why would a school full of kids have any less protection than a court house, for example? Aren’t children as important as judges or lawyers?
The GSA, Homeland Security, and the National Center for State Courts all acknowledge that multiple layers of security are required to prevent random acts of violence. It is a mix of detection, restricted access, and armed security. Nowhere in any of the planning and recommendations are 16-inch baseball bats and buckets of river rock mentioned.