A Pennsylvania school district is taking steps to protect its students from mass shootings by arming its teachers with mini baseball bats.
Millcreek School District superintendent William Hall announced that the district’s 500 teachers will be equipped with the 16-inch bats and trained on how to respond in the case of a school shooting. “We passed them out, with the goal being we wanted every room to have one of these," Hall told WICU. "Unfortunately, we're in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids."
According to the Washington Post, Pennsylvania law prohibits weapons on school campuses. So they opted for the bats as a “last resort.” “They’re the little souvenir bats that you buy in baseball parks,” Hall told the Post. “They could be used as a weapon, but so could a number of things in a classroom.”
Since the Parkland shooting, the debate continues on whether or not teachers should be armed with weapons. Hall says the shooting in Florida prompted the district to rethink its previous policy of hiding from an attacker. “Obviously, after Parkland, we went back and looked at our active shooter and hard lockdown response and realized that it had to change,” Hall he told the Post. “We had basically adopted the ‘just lock the doors and turn the lights out and hide’ approach in terms of the response. [The modified plan] includes not just hiding but also running and, as a last resort, having to fight as necessary.”
The bat is seen as a “symbolic” gesture of fighting back against mass shooters. According to the Post, the district is also implementing a dozen other safety initiatives including building a concrete wall, installing security film on its windows, and constructing secured entrances at five of its schools over the summer.
While the bats, which cost the district $1,800, might seem like something to laugh at, Hall has a good point: they’re better than nothing. “The bat story, it’s taken on a life of its own, unfortunately. At the same time, I’m kind of okay with that. I want people to know that we’re looking at everything,” Hall told the Post. “Having a rock or a miniature baseball bat as opposed to nothing—well, that’s better than nothing.”