Millcreek School District, located in a suburb of Erie, Pennsylvania, is valiantly doing its part to protect its students from gun violence. All of the district’s 500 teachers were given baseball bats to ward off armed intruders.
Before you agree or disagree with this $1,800 decision, let me continue. The teachers were not provided full-sized baseball bats, but tiny 16-inch bats. That’s right. Teachers are expected to keep their students safe from flying bullets with ballpark souvenirs and prizes you win at an amusement park for popping balloons with a few darts.
No matter where we stand on gun reform or arming our teachers, can we all agree this is a dumb fucking idea and a big waste of money?
Superintendent William Hall justified the district’s decision by saying, “Unfortunately, we’re in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids.”
I have so many questions. First of all, who thought this was a good idea? And who were the idiots who agreed and said, “Hey, yeah, that is a brilliant idea! Let’s do it!” Tell me your logic.
Millcreek Education Association president Jon Cacchione explains: “This is a tool to have in the event we have nothing else. 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.”
I disagree, Jon. Tiny bats are an insult to the actual work being done by teachers to protect and educate our kids—education, by the way, is why they are in the classroom.
Every day teachers are spreading their emotional and physical resources very thin to support our students. When a child walks into a classroom, they bring with them so much more than a backpack filled with school supplies. Their ability to learn is not based on simply showing up. While addressing things like home life and social status on the playground, teachers are constantly doing their best to be sure each student has an equal opportunity to get the best out of the education presented to them.
After lesson plans and emotional handholding, we are also expecting our teachers to protect our kids from bomb threats and armed intruders. That’s not fair. We should be focusing on preventing these horrible acts, not just on how to stop them once they start.
Do I think we should prepare teachers for an active shooter? YES. Emergency plans are in place. Faculty and staff and students across the nation prepare themselves with drills. My first grader fully understands what “clear the halls” and “lockdown” mean. It makes me sick that she even needs to know these words, but I am grateful for the teachers who have taken on the role of last line of defense when it comes to my child.
If an active shooter enters a school, tell me how a tiny bat is supposed to help a teacher who is already working their ass off to keep a room full of terrified students quiet and calm. Will he or she throw the bat at the attacker? Will they attempt batting practice and swing at flying bullets? Will the tiny bat confuse the shooter? Make him laugh at the notion that a TINY FUCKING BAT will stop him?
Actual bats, the flying mammals that scare the hell out of me, would be a better defense. Seriously. Unleashing a couple of caged bats in the classroom would likely send the shooter running in the other direction.
Lest you think this is the only dumb idea to come out of Pennsylvania and its efforts to protect students from gun violence, classrooms at the Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County in eastern PA were given buckets of river rocks.
Superintendent David Helsel said, “Protocol has been that students lie down, under desks and basically become passive targets in our classrooms. We decided to empower our students with tools of self-defense if needed.”
Twitter users aren’t having any of it.
So a school district in eastern PA is supplying teachers with a bucket of rocks to combat a potential shooter. On the western side they’re being given tiny bats. Which means PA is literally confronting a 21st century problem with sticks and stones.
— Martin Chabala (@MartinChabala) April 12, 2018
Proud Pa here! (not really, embarrassed as hell!!)… but yes, we have given one school district w teeny tiny bats, and another w buckets of rocks (for throwing at guns)… SO PROUD! Here's hoping we can train groundhogs to b a fighting force)
— Jennifer Schmids (@Jennife39573226) April 12, 2018
And because I know you were wondering and feeling anxious about it, when the tiny bats are not needed to swat away a crazed mass murderer, they will be safely locked up in each classroom.
I wish I could say the same for all the guns kept in homes across America.