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Pennsylvania School District That Armed Students and Teachers With Rocks Brings On Armed Security Guards

Pennsylvania School District That Armed Students and Teachers With Rocks Brings On Armed Security Guards

Never take a knife to a gun fight. Or rocks. Rocks won’t do much good either.

Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania landed in the middle of a national press firestorm after the district suggested students ought to be armed with river stones to defend themselves from a school shooter.

Friday, Dr. David Helsel, the superintendent of Blue Mountain School District published a video to Facebook, hoping to clarify what he called a “misunderstanding” of the ALICE program (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) a nationally recognized training program that deals with live shooter scenarios.

Mr. Helsel also included an FAQ, explaining why the use of river stones made it into national headlines:

Blue Mountain has been in the local and national media spotlight concerning portions of the emergency procedures for intruders. These procedures were called into question after stories about students throwing river stones were publicized. To bring focus to this issue, read some of the Frequently Asked Questions below.

What emergency guidelines have been established concerning intruders into our Blue Mountain schools?
Blue Mountain has established emergency security guidelines for intruders in our buildings that are outlined by the ALiCE Training Institute. ALiCE stands for Alert, Lock Down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. This training calls for intruder emergencies to be handled in the following manner:
1. Inform all building occupants that there is an intruder in the building.
2. Alert the building occupants on where the intruder is in the building.
3. Teachers need to evaluate whether it is safe to Evacuate their students from the building.
4. Teachers who cannot evacuate their classes are to Lock Down their classrooms.
5. Students and teachers in locked down classrooms are to put up physical barricades. If the intruder gets past these barricades, all students are to Counter their entry by throwing items at the intruder to inflict as much damage as possible and protect themselves.

When will the river stones actually be used?
This is a last resort! Throwing river stones or other items will only be used if all other steps have been taken to avoid contact with an intruder.

Do all school buildings have security equipment?
Yes, all Blue Mountain Schools are equipped with intercom systems, emergency phone systems, walkie-talkies, surveillance equipment, and other security equipment. All classroom doors have been equipped with locking mechanisms.

Are classroom equipped with items to throw at an intruder?
Yes, all classrooms have buckets of river stones that students and faculty can throw at an intruder as a last level of defense against intruders.

Why not have students just hide in classrooms?
ALiCE guidelines suggest that students and faculty fight back against an intruder rather than wait passively for an intruder to attack.

Have teachers received training on procedures for building intruders?
Yes, a team of administrators and teachers received training through ALiCE. This team brought this training back to Blue Mountain and trained the remaining teachers and administrators.

Have students received training on procedures for building intruders?
Blue Mountain has held numerous training scenarios for students and some drills. Teachers have instructed their students on what to do in the case of a building intruder and drills have covered numerous different escape or Lock Down cases.

Sunday night, Dr. Helsel again posted to the district’s Facebook page, explaining that because of the torrent of media attention, there’s now a greater concern the district’s schools may be vulnerable to a violent attack. So, they’ve arranged for armed security just in case.

Never take a knife to a gun fight. Or rocks. Rocks won’t do much good either. Armed security though, that’s a much better idea.


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ScottTheEngineer | March 26, 2018 at 5:27 pm

hoEvacuatelarify ?

“the district suggested students ought to be armed with river stones”

I’ll have you know that they don’t “award” those Masters degrees, or worse, those PhD degrees, in Education to just anyone. It takes real geniuses to get one of them.

    fscarn in reply to pfg. | March 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    He signed the letter as David Helsel, Ed.D. I wonder if he’s one of these puffed-up-know-that-you-are-in-my-greatness types who insists that you address him as “Docter Helsel.”


      Alan McIntire in reply to fscarn. | March 27, 2018 at 9:32 am

      I’m reminded of the aphorism, “Those who CAN, do; those who CAN’T, teach; those who can’t teach, teach TEACHERS to teach.”

    Disco Stu_ in reply to pfg. | March 26, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    (shhh: #WrongThink –

    You know, we’re not supposed to say that stuff out loud, right?

    But how else are those “Education” “degreed” “professionals” supposed to “earn” a living except in those state “colleges” that award those “degrees”.)

Armed security though, that’s a much better idea.

Depends on what the “arms” of the “armed security” are. If the security personnel are also armed with rocks … all they’ve done is make a silly plan into a more expensive silly plan. Ridiculous? Of course. But given the history of this case, it would be rash to assume that the ridiculous isn’t an integral component of their plan.

    jhn1 in reply to tom_swift. | March 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    For the most part I fully agree.
    Rocks against guns is a loser.
    having the kids with a mindset of “do something” instead of “put your head down on the desk and look away from the doorway and even if something happens you won’t know it and you can die peacefully” (as best I recall one of the Sandy Hook teachers justifying what she had her class do)
    Having a mindset of “do something” instead of “wait for rescue” like they are in Puerto Rico and were/are still in Haiti has a pretty large value on its own.

      InEssence in reply to jhn1. | March 26, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      And, rocks are about as good as guns at close range. Both take skill. My wife’s aunt was a clerk at a convenience store when robbery was attempted. He had a pistol and was firing. She did not get hit, and she was able to knock the guy unconscious by throwing a can of beans at him.

        forksdad in reply to InEssence. | March 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        As a person who has been hit by both bullets and rocks I can say with authority, no they are not nearly good as bullets at any range. Even when they weigh ten pounds and a felon is trying to bash your brains out they are not nearly as good as bullets.

    rabidfox in reply to tom_swift. | March 26, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    It would also require that the armed security guard be INSIDE and not cowering behind a car in the parking lot.

Oh, that might be the explantion—

… armed with river stones …

That might be a farm subsidy sort of thing. Only official greenhouse-grown organic river stones are to be used.

Hey, it’s no sillier than any other interpretation.

So we are supposed to have students channel their inner “David” when facing a Philistine?

Right. It’s the fault of concerned Americans that students aren’t safe when only protected by rocks. We always thought armed protection was better idea.

2nd Ammendment Mother | March 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm

see Cain Vs Abel

So, you’re saying making national headlines advertising how insecure your campuses are might be a bad idea?

Now you know why Texas campuses post signs advising that campuses are armed and intruders will be dealt with expeditiously….

Check out the local Blue Mountain Banks. I’ll bet they are deemed important enough to be defended by armed guards.

I have a simple solution nation wide – going to every school and replace 6 School administrators with six armed guards.

You know, of course, where they got all the rocks: from the teachers’ and administrators’ heads.


NO, NO, NO! David used a slingshot, a terrible weapon indeed. Slingshots give the user an unfair advantage in aiming, velocity, and other physics stuff that might contribute to a successful outcome. Besides, David was the aggressor in that fight (ignore Goliath’s behavior, because that allows us to frame the story anyway we want). Students are helpless victims and only deserve to have tools that reinforce their helplessness for, you know, the follow-up gun control rallies.

    J Motes in reply to J Motes. | March 26, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Oops. That was supposed to be nested under alaskabob’s comment: “So we are supposed to have students channel their inner “David” when facing a Philistine?”

      alaskabob in reply to J Motes. | March 26, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Also David had the Lord of Hosts on his side which gave him an unfair advantage.

        Morning Sunshine in reply to alaskabob. | March 26, 2018 at 7:21 pm

        not to worry – the God of Israel is banned from public schools, so He will not be there to assist in the rock throwing. /sarcasm off

          Morning Sunshine in reply to Morning Sunshine. | March 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm

          on second thought, since the criminal bringing the gun into a gun-free campus is ignoring the rules, I am sure the God of Heaven and Earth ignores his banishment as well 🙂

    Milwaukee in reply to J Motes. | March 26, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Slingshots are very effective weapons in the hands of skilled, practiced, users.

    Cleetus in reply to J Motes. | March 27, 2018 at 5:48 am

    Goliath didn’t have a gun.

OleDirtyBarrister | March 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm

In the school system’s defense, those are high capacity buckets and the rocks they procured are smooth, high velocity rocks with built in silencing. So it’s not like the system doesn’t care or failed to think this defense mechanism through completely.

[Sarcasm off].

Related – turns out that David Hogg punk wasn’t even in class the day of the school shooting. But as soon as it hit the television he hopped on his bike and rode down to the school to get in front of the cameras.

    murkyv in reply to Fen. | March 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    New Video Casts Doubt on Whether David Hogg Was at School on the Day of the Shooting

      murkyv in reply to murkyv. | March 26, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      UPDATE: CBS Video Confusing. Hogg Was on Campus.

      His comments quoted below to CBS still don’t make sense. Did he leave campus and then violate the lockdown to enter campus and interview students? How did he get home and back? Some students were bussed to a nearby hotel as they were evacuated from campus. Is he talking about going there? This needs to be clarified.

      UPDATE #2: This Vox article indicates that Hogg went back to the campus area at 6 pm and did not actually enter campus, but had his camera and interviewed people across the street from campus. Here’s his quote:

      At 6 pm after the shooting, I took my camera, got on my bike. I rode in basically twilight. And I ride my bike three miles down winding sidewalks and find my way to the school, as I’ve done in previous years. All the while, I was making sure my camera bag didn’t rip open, because if you zip it a certain way, the camera falls out, and it would be destroyed.

      After reviewing all of this, it appears that the problem was that CBS included a very confusing quote without context. Hogg was on campus during the shooting and returned several hours later to interview people across the street. The original story remains below, in strikethrough. I am sorry for the error and have updated the post accordingly.

    One of soros’ little hitlers – on the hells of little hitler barry obama.

This has always been my plan. If I were trapped with a gunman on the loose, I’d throw everything I could find at him. Shoes, books, pens whatever I got. I’d rather die fighting than curled up in a ball waiting to be shot.

May I pretend that Dr David concocted this PR disaster as a ruse to shame the state into providing funds needed to hire more security guards?


And what happens when Little Trayvon or Jimbob Jr. decides to use those rocks on the teacher and other students?

    Milwaukee in reply to murkyv. | March 26, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Students who have just turned their lives around, and are headed in a new direction, aren’t throwing rocks at their classmates and teachers.

Next, will be pillows.

I don’t want to be a party-pooper here, but those rocks are the wrong size. The vast majority of children K-12 will not be able to throw rocks sthat size with much force or accuracy over a distance. This isn’t “rocket” science here. Rocks should fit nicely in the palm of the hand. I hope the PE teachers would schedule rock throwing practice, for accuracy and force, weekly. Otherwise the rocks will be thrown weakly.

Now here is a thought: Why not decriminalize school attendance? Then children wouldn’t be exposed to male-hatred leftist propaganda, innocents wouldn’t be exposed to evil from classmates and teachers and bureaucracy, and evil deed-doers wouldn’t be forced to be in school, where they could sitting next to your children. The shooters tend to be angry about their school experience and rejection. Let them quit before they become too angry.

    Milwaukee in reply to Milwaukee. | March 26, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Those rocks there look like the right size for dropping off an overpass onto moving traffic. Which is not a trivial problem: given the force of gravity, the height of the bridge, the height of the windshield, and the speed of the oncoming vehicle, timing could be tricky. Remember, when rocks are outlawed, only outlaws will have rocks.

Ok apparently the first report by CBS was in error and – wait, you know what screw this little punk. You guys around shout now the rest of us have blood on our hands? He deserve the courtesy of a factual correction.

This is simply so stupid that I am stymied for a comment strong enough to express it. Sorry.

And I give up on the editing. Yeah I know what I wrote above is unintelligible, there’s no edit function for this website and my phone’s voice to text is bonkers. I’m not going to bother anymore. Just leave it as is.

    Mac45 in reply to Fen. | March 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    My comment, above, was on the content of the original report, not on your comment immediately above mine. I just want to clarify that.


Maybe they can load buckets with halite. After all, halite would qualify as “assault rocks”.

    MajorWood in reply to karl_lembke. | March 27, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I understand that, being PA and all, they originally started with buckets of coal, but that the EPA stepped in and determined that the sulfur content was too high and might lead to local acid rain conditions that could be detrimental to the health of the shooter, so they were removed and reburied.

buckeyeminuteman | March 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

“Sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.”