ORWIGSBURG, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Arming educators has been a national debate in the wake of recent school shootings. Now, the most basic of weapons is available to some students in the region.
Buckets of these river rocks are now in every classroom in Blue Mountain School District.
Superintendent David Helsel came up with the idea for what they call “go buckets”.
“We’re empowering our students and teachers to do something,” said Helsel.
He says it’s the last line of defense in a series of protocols the district follows when there’s an intruder. Explaining, if the intruder overcomes the other safety features, like getting in the building, getting through the locked doors, and overcoming the barracades, then the teachers and students will reach for the rocks.
“We’re going to throw them at a person who comes through the door as hard as we can,” said Randy Nunemacher, a middle school math teacher.
“If they hit someone in the head, it could knock them out, or in the temple, it could kill them,” said Helsel.
The bucket of rocks is secured in a safe place in each classroom. Parents have been informed through meetings and open houses. Teachers and students have prepared and practiced with drills. But they do not throw the rocks during the drills, just discuss it as a last resort.
“Of course it’s a scary time. But we have to do the best we can to protect all of our students,” said Nunemacher.
“It gives me just a little bit of confidence to know that our students aren’t just sitting targets,” said Jill Kerstetter, middle school teacher.
District officials believe the rocks will also serve as a deterrent, saying now that people know they’re prepared, hopefully an intruder will think twice before targeting their schools.
The superintendent says under current laws, this is the best he could come up with until something changes.
“I’m not sure anyone has one answer, but doing something is better than sitting doing nothing,” said Kerstetter.
“I hope they feel a little safer,” said Helsel.
Getting those buckets of rocks in classrooms has been in the works for the past two years. Classrooms received the buckets at the end of last school year.