Pennsylvania school district beefs up security after being mocked for stone-throwing defense plan (VIDEO)

Pennsylvania school district beefs up security after being mocked for stone-throwing defense plan (VIDEO)


A school district in rural Pennsylvania beefed up its security this week after the internet mocked its leaders for relying on buckets of rocks to fend off active shooters.

Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel released a statement Tuesday indicating he’d hired armed security guards for additional protection, fearing the intense media coverage may encourage an attack.

“This attention was due to social media posts that took comments out of context and misrepresented our actual planned response to armed intruders (particularly with the planned use of stones),” he said. “This unfortunate circumstance has increased our concern regarding the possibility that something may happen because of the media attention.”

Helsel told state lawmakers earlier this month every classroom in his district — which serves 2,700 students across five schools — contains a five gallon bucket of river rocks meant as a last line of self defense.

“If an armed attacker attempts to gain access to our classroom, they will face a students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” he said during interviews with local media. “They are the right size for hands. You can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract.”

The unusual comment sparked the interest of media nationwide. Helsel said  the district follows the ALiCE response plan — an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, inform, Counter and Evacuate.  The river rocks factor into the fifth and final step: students and teachers unable to escape and prevent an intruder from entering the classroom should throw anything and everything at the attacker in self defense.

“This is a last resort,” he said Tuesday. “Throwing river stones or other items will only be used if all other steps have been taken to avoid contact with an intruder.”

In the meantime, state lawmakers continue mulling proposals to allow districts to arm school teachers via Senate Bill 383. The legislation passed the Senate in June and awaits a vote in the House Education Committee.





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