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.DONATE
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