Safety Rocks!

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A recent addition to classrooms in the Blue Mountain School District in  Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania was implemented by superintendent David Helsel. Each classroom in the district now has a five-gallon bucket filled to the brim with hefty river stones. These will be used in self-defense against potential intruders, armed or not. “Protocol has been that students lie down, under desks and basically become passive targets on our classrooms.We decided to empower our students with tools of self-defense if needed,” Helsel described.

Along with these “weapons”, schools in the district have conducted active shooter and evacuation drills. The superintendent was also quoted saying “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,”.

At first thought, the idea of putting rocks in the classroom may seem like a cheap alternative to effective safety protocols. It may seem like a district’s way of saying they dealt with the problem without putting more planning and thought into safety drills.

However, after reviewing all of the benefits of rocks in classrooms, it appears that they may be a valid option in preventing further school shootings. Not only are the rocks not dangerous unless thrown with force, they are easily accessible and portable. If the students needed to exit the building, they could transport the rocks with them. The amount of chaos the rocks could put the shooter through could prevent accuracy in their shots. It could also serve to injure them or surprise them to prevent further injuries or deaths.

Instead of immediately disregarding this form of safety, shouldn’t we be thankful that schools are finally putting concrete actions to have school safety set in stone?


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