Pennsylvania school district gives teachers tiny bats to fend off intruders

Millcreek Township School District Superintendent William Hall holds one of the bats that teachers received. (Photo: Erie News Now)

Another Pennsylvania school district adopted an unorthodox approach this month to fighting back against armed intruders — this time, in the form of tiny wooden bats.

Millcreek Township School District in suburban Erie handed out the 16-inch “souvenir bats” to more than 500 teachers and staff on April 2 after updating its security plan in the wake of high-profile school shootings across the country. The district serves more than 7,400 students and spent roughly $1,800 on the bats.

Superintendent William Hall defended the decision Thursday after media reports surfaced mocking the district’s approach.

“We hope the day will never come that our staff will have to defend students and themselves,” he said. “However, we want our staff to know that in a life and death situation, an attack option may be necessary and to use any available tool at their disposal.”

Hall reiterated the bats serve as a last-resort, only authorized for use in a “hard lockdown” situation, in addition to whatever else staff could utilize as a weapon — including chairs, staplers, books and fire extinguishers.

“It is not the primary deterrent, but rather it is something that may be used in an emergency situation, and symbolizes our intent to take an active approach to defending our students and staff under threat,” he said.

Millcreek is just the second school district in the state to adopt an unusual attack plan against active shooters. Blue Mountain School District, about 90 miles east of Philadelphia, placed five gallon buckets of river rocks in all of its classrooms last month as a “last resort” for teachers in an emergency situation.

“If an armed attacker attempts to gain access to our classroom, they will face a students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,”  said Superintendent David Helsel last month. “They are the right size for hands. You can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract.”

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