Millcreek School District bats get misguided attention

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A school district in Pennsylvania is arming its 500 teachers with 16-inch baseball bats in case of a school shooting. "When I saw them I laughed", Jo Ellen Barish told ABC News. In Newcastle, parents have started buying items on teachers' Amazon wish lists to make sure they have classroom supplies and furniture. Hall says the shooting in Florida prompted the district to rethink its previous policy of hiding from an attacker. "We're not just going to go hide".

The 14 February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 pupils and staff dead, and the student-led protests which followed have been the catalyst for a national conversation about how best to respond to gun violence in U.S. schools.

Though the buckets of rocks were not a direct response to the Parkland shooting, Helsel cited other school shootings, including at Virginia Tech and Columbine, as the inspiration for the move.

Despite vocal support from Parkland survivors, among others, gun safety legislation has not passed on the federal level. Hundreds of thousands of protesters appeared at March for Our Lives rallies across the country March 24 to call for an end to gun violence. It conducted an online survey to see how public felt about it.

"We thought just putting that one question out there would give us an idea how the community felt,"said Hall". "There's an expense involved in that, laws and training and liability - it's problematic, obviously". People suggested arming teachers with everything from rat poison to mace to, yes, baseball bats.

The district is also planning to increase school safety by adding concrete barriers around high school walkways.

"That 40 minutes will be on Wednesday afternoons only, and I can tell you that the communications that we have had will effectively grind to a halt because 40 minutes in terms of education goes by extremely quickly", he said.

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"They've given corporations and businesses incentives to be here and nothing has really trickled down to us", said Cyndi Ralston, a Haskell teacher who filed to run as a Democrat in House District 12. The symbolic gesture now getting some misguided attention.

Superintendent William Hall acknowledged the bats are a "last resort" if a classroom is attacked.

"It's more about the educational piece and that awareness - teaching our kids to be better prepared for these situations", Hall said, ABC News reported. "Unfortunately, we're in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids".

With a total cost of less than $2,000, the bat plan is likely less expensive and controversial than fully arming teachers.

"I'm quite honored to receive the award and it's awesome that my students would take time to recognize me like that", Golden Apple Recipient Tyler Brackey said.

"I agree, we should prepare for the worst".

Baseball equipment including baseballs, mitt, bat and helmet.