Helsel's zany plan to provide every classroom in the district about 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia with a five-gallon bucket of stones has the support of students in the area.
And, if it comes to it, now they also have the rocks.
Helsel said, while the teachers are not armed, the district is looking for volunteers at the school on maintenance staff to be properly trained and armed, adding that he hopes they never have to use any of the safety measures.
He said his schools all undergo routine drills for active shooter situations, but if a teacher decides to lockdown a classroom, the rocks will be available if a shooter gets inside.
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"We have devices installed in our doors that help to secure them, to make it very hard to break through", said Helsel. "If an armed intruder attempts to gain entry into our classrooms, they will face a classroom of students armed with rocks". However, following Helsel's statement at the conference, rumormongery on social media has taken Helsel's "last ditch effort" from its context and made it a target of derision. "This is not happening in other high-income countries - this is a problem unique to schools in America", she says. "Under the given circumstances, it is a better response than passively crawling under a desk and allowing someone to break into the classroom".
Susan Spicka, the executive director of an organization called Education Voters of Pennsylvania, attended the hearing.
Helsel also told BuzzFeed News that the rocks are not the only plan for armed intruders.
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"School districts in Pennsylvania are so under-funded, then they joke about kids having to defend themselves", she said.
"I think that's rather comical", said one college student in Schuylkill Haven.
What is only a part of Blue Mountain's plan to deal with an intruder is being mistaken for the whole, the district's superintendent said Friday.
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