Rocks in the Classroom Gets National Attention

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ORWIGSBURG, Pa. -- A superintendent in Schuylkill County is getting national attention for his plan to protect students if an intruder breaks into a classroom.

A day after our story about Blue Mountain School District Superintendent Dr. David Helsel aired, he said his phone has been ringing off the hook.

"Yes," Dr. Helsel said. "ABC News, Fox News. There is a number of people contacting."

The superintendent was in Harrisburg last week. It was there he spoke to legislators about his idea to protect students. In the closet of every classroom in the district, there is a five-gallon bucket filled with river rocks meant to be thrown at an intruder if they try to break into the classroom. Dr. Helsel said the rocks are there as a last resort if all other safety measures fail.

"We, as a district, feel like that is a better alternative than sitting and crawling under a desk waiting to be shot," Helsel said.

The superintendent tells Newswatch 16 he's surprised by all the attention he's gotten.

"I think we have a great staff and a great group of students that are doing a great job, so I wish we were talking about that than rocks," Helsel said.

Former student Will Elberfeld said he is not surprised by all the ruckus the rocks in the classrooms have caused.

"I can understand why because it's such an idea that is out there," Elberfeld said. "So, it's not something you would think of."

A parent Newswatch 16 spoke with said she's worried this will bring negative attention.

"When I saw the whole thing I said, we shouldn't be talking about this," Barbara Poncelet said. "Why is this being broadcast and now? I didn't realize it's become a big deal."

7 comments

  • Pat

    A five gallon bucket of rocks sits in a classroom. An armed shooter bangs the door open. All the kids run toward the bucket, making one huge target instead of 30 individual targets.

    Fish in a barrel for the shooter.

    This is the most idiotic thing I’ve seen yet – even more so than arming teachers.

  • Diane Morris

    I think physiologically speaking this is a good policy.I remember my mom talking about the air raid drills they had when she was a little girl and how helpless she felt just hiding under a desk.

  • Dave Williams

    For all the nay-sayers out there, what is your plan of action? Active Intruder program is a widely used program in schools and businesses. The program is to evacuate if you can, lock down and barricade if you can’t, and fight as a last resort. The last resort is to use what you have to take down the intruder, usually with what ever is in the room. If you can hit (got to be close up) or throw from a distance, then so be it. If you got pepper spray with you and want to be close up to use it, your choice but be quick. Rocks are quick to pick up and takes little thought on how to use it – throwing or hitting with it. And a few good thunks to the head will either daze or knock the intruder out. Remember, if they (the class) are spread around the room, it will be a barrage of rocks (or other items) coming at the intruder.

  • silverfishimperetrix

    I figured weapons-grade stupidity like this would get national attention. It’s not even close to being a good idea, and all of the derision coming their way will be well-deserved. Another black eye for our area…wonderful.

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