And in PA: Students Are Armed with Rocks In Case of a School Shooting [Video]

WNEP – SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — “There’s a rocky controversy when it comes to school safety in Schuylkill County.

The superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District is in the spotlight after telling lawmakers in Harrisburg his students protect themselves against potential school shooters with rocks.

“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel.

That was Dr. Helsel testifying to the House Education Committee last week in Harrisburg.

The superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District was explaining his unconventional form of protecting the students in their schools in the event of an active shooter situation: give them rocks.

“At one time I just had the idea of river stone, they`re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract,” said Helsel.

Helsel says teachers, staff and students were given active shooter training through a program known as ALICE which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate and they routinely hold evacuation drills for active shooter simulations.

But if a teacher decides to lockdown a classroom, there are rocks in a five-gallon bucket kept in every classroom closet that students could throw if shooters get inside.

Still, Helsel says the rocks are seen as a last resort.

“We have devices installed in our doors that help to secure them, to make it very difficult to break through,” said Helsel. “We also have, we train kids and talk about barricading the doors.”

A teenager who is a senior a Blue Mountain High School and says he and other students like that plan.

“It matters because it will help protect the schools, anything helps, rocks are better than books and pencils.”

Parents do as well.

“At this point, we have to get creative, we have to protect our kids first and foremost, throwing rocks, it’s an option,” said Dori Bornstein.

But not everyone thinks this is a practical line of defense.

“I think that’s rather comical,” said one college student in Schuylkill Haven.

“It’s absurd, arm the teachers,” said a parent in Schuylkill Haven.

Helsel says the district has no plans to arm teachers, however, Blue Mountain does have a maintenance employee who is trained and certified to work as school security and is armed.

And the district plans to have more support staff get the same training to act a security.”

Billings School Children and Staff Left Defenseless For Now. Considering Armed SRO’s. – Billings schools won’t arm teachers for now

“BILLINGS – It is unlikely Billings Public School will arm its teachers amid a national discussion to protect students, but instead will continue to eye adding student resource officers (SRO) to patrol schools.

“I think whatever you do outside of the SRO needs to be well thought out and researched before being implemented,” said SD2 Supt. Terry Bouck.

Bouck told the Board of Trustees that a company would help train teachers but said he “likes going with SROs.”

Under Montana law, school boards have the authority to grant certain individuals, including teachers, the ability to carry guns on school property.

The district will add an officer to cover elementary schools, bringing the total of SROs to eight.

“I think when things happen, you don’t just kneejerk,” he said. “When guns are in buildings, you need accountability.”

SD2 is working with after school programs to ensure doors are locked, but a buzz-to-enter system is being worked out.

Mark Wahl, the district’s athletics and activities director, will receive more duties. Bouck announced Wahl will also spearhead emergency preparedness and school safety.

“Mark is absolutely a stellar person in whatever he does,” Bouck endorsed.

A safety forum for the community will be held late March or early April, Bouck said. Parents and community members are encouraged to attend when the final date is announced.”

Study says Montana is second-most dependent on gun industry

Helena Independent Record – “Montana is the state second-most dependent on the gun industry, according to a website that reviewed per-capita data about firearms industry jobs, state gun laws, gun ownership rates and the intersection between politics and guns

The website WalletHub released its report Monday.

According to the data it analyzed, Montana ranked sixth for its gun ownership rate, third for firearms-industry jobs per capita, fourth for firearms-industry output per capita and for total taxes paid by firearms industry per capita.

The state ranks fifth for National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks per capita, first for gun-control contributions to congressional members per capita and 13th for gun-rights contributions to congressional members per capita.

Montana ranks second overall with Idaho at No. 1 and is followed by Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The study ranked states across three dimensions: the firearms industry, gun prevalence and gun politics.

For the firearms industry, it examined firearms-related jobs per 10,000 residents, the number of firearms and ammunitions deals and importers per capita, the average wages and benefits in the industry, the total industry output per capita and total excise taxes paid by the firearms industry per capita.

A 2017 report from The Billings Gazette that examined statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found that Montana has the most firearms companies per capita. In 2016, the most recent year numbers were available, the state had 153 licensed manufacturers.

It also examined state laws that protect gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits, state gun laws around mental health records reporting, private-sale background checks, open-carry and conceal-carry regulations, prohibition of access to guns for domestic violence abusers, laws to disarm dangerous people, child access prevention and waiting periods, as well as the minimum age to purchase different types of firearms.

Most of the legislation introduced in the Montana state Legislature over the last two decades has been about loosening restrictions on concealed-carry permits, increasing the places guns are allowed, opening up the state’s stand-your-ground laws, increasing shooting range funding and enshrining the right to hunt in the state’s Constitution.

In the wake of the recent shooting and killing of 17 at a high school in Parkland, Florida, a state lawmaker has asked for draft legislation to change state law so non-criminal mental health commitments can be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Open-carry is legal in Montana with some exceptions such as in schools, government buildings, places where alcohol is sold. County sheriffs issue conceal-carry permits.

For gun prevalence, the Wallet Hub study looked at the gun ownership rate of a state, gun sales per 1,000 residents, gun ads for private buying and selling and Google search interest for gun sales.

When determining the gun politics ranking, the study looked at gun-control and gun-rights contributions to congressional members and the average NRA score for the state’s senators.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, has an A+ ranking from the NRA and recently said he’d be looking for a different airline after Delta said it would no longer honor discounts for NRA members. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, was given an A- in 2012.”