Pennsylvania School District Arms 500 Teachers With Mini Baseball Bats As 'Last Resort'
A Pennsylvania school district is arming roughly 500 teachers with 16-inch baseball bats in an effort to boost security and parents aren't too keen on the idea.
Teachers at the Millcreek Township School District, in Pennsylvania, received the mini bats after a training day on how to respond to school shootings, reported Erie News Now.
Schools Superintendent, William Hall, said on Tuesday that the sticks were largely symbolic - a 'last resort' for teachers who want to fight back, not just hide and wait.
He added: "It is an option and something we want people to be aware of.
"We passed them out, with the goal being we wanted every room to have one of these.
"Unfortunately, we're in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids."
The bats, which will be kept locked in each classroom, are mostly 'symbolic' according to William.
According to NBC, the continuing issue of school shootings has taken renewed significance after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The mass shooting killed 17 people and left 17 more wounded.
President Donald Trump has floated the idea of schools outfitting teachers with guns, an idea praised by the National Rifle Association but criticised by school safety advocates.
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School districts across the country are struggling with how best to protect children.
Parkland school officials decided to require all students to carry clear plastic backpacks as one safety measure. This was mocked by students who saw it as a meaningless gesture over real gun reform.
Last month NBC reported that a rural school district in Pennsylvania said it would give buckets of river rocks to teachers in a bid to potentially ward off school shooters.
Small baseball bats don't sound much better, some parents say.
Jo Ellen Barish, a Parent Teach Association (PTA) president with a child attending a Millcreek middle school said on Wednesday: "It's not going to make some shooter stop and say, 'Hey, I probably shouldn't go in and do this'."
She added: "The people who do these things aren't planning on getting away alive. It's not like they have a fear of being hurt."
Pennsylvania PTA board member, Bonnie Fagan, whose son graduated from a Millcreek high school last year, said she felt 'sad and disappointed' that teachers were being handed bats.
She said the reported $1,800 (£1,200) cost for the items was not money well-spent, and more discussions should happen about proper security measures - whether it's installing metal detectors, special classroom door locks or school ID scanners.
Bonnie asked: "Am I going to get out my bat that's in a locked cabinet or my bucket of rocks or slide something under the door to lock it to stop someone? How effective is any of this?"
Pennsylvania law makes it illegal to possess a weapon on school grounds, but legislators are proposing changes that could give school districts the option to decide for themselves about arming staff.
Dolores McCracken, whose state union represents more than 187,000 teachers and educators in Pennsylvania, previously argued that 'teachers are not trained law enforcement officers - their job is to educate children and act as role models'.
Featured Image Credit: NBC