Pennsylvania school district gives baseball bats to teachers in wake of Parkland shooting
The Pennsylvania school district seems to have taken an unusual measure replacing guns with baseball bats.
A school district in a suburb of northwest Pennsylvania, Erie, is arming nearly 500 of its teachers with 16-inch baseball bats in an attempt to avoid a mass shooting in the region's educational institutions, according to reports. The decision was taken by the Erie school district in the wake of Parkland school shooting in Florida.
A 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire in the campus with his legally-bought AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people. Most of the people killed in the incident were students and teachers. The carnage was recorded as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the recent history of the United States.
Ever since the Parkland massacre, the survivors have spurred a nationwide movement to call for stricter gun control legislation in the country. President Trump, however, has advocated for arming certain teachers with guns inside the school premises and providing them with training.
The suggestion has been slammed by anti-gun activists and Parkland survivors, who have argued that bringing more guns in the discourse will not help the issue. However, the Pennsylvania school district seems to have taken an unusual measure replacing guns with baseball bats.
Millcreek Schools Superintendent, William Hall, said: "It is the last resort but it is an option and something we want people to be aware of," WSEE-TV reported. He added that it cost nearly $1,800 to purchase all the bats.
Hall said that the bats were distributed to each teacher after an in-service training day on how to respond to school shootings, reports state.
"We passed them out, with the goal being we wanted every room to have one of these," said Hall. "Unfortunately, we're in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids."
The superintendent said that the bats are mainly "symbolic" but now they are also an option for teachers to use if they feel the needs to confront in a school shooting in their premises. He also added that other security measures have also been incorporated to ensure students' safety, which includes a concrete barrier around the school walkway and additional security measures at the entrances of the institutions.
Millcreek Education Association president, Jon Cacchione, also supported the school district's decision to arm teachers with bats and added that the instruments will be locked up in every classroom in the district.
"This is a tool to have in the event we have nothing else," said Cacchione. "Part of the formula now is to fight back, and so I think the bats that were provided for the staff were symbolic of that."
Reports state that the district also conducted an online survey to determine if the people in the region supported the idea of arming certain teachers with guns in school premises.
Hall said: "We thought just putting that one question out there would give us an idea how the community felt. It was about 70 percent to 30 percent that people would favor that, but we're not really actively planning that right now."