In Depth

US school district arms teachers with miniature baseball bats

Pennsylvania teachers issued the batons as ‘last resort’ defence against school shooting

A school district in Pennsylvania has armed teachers with miniature baseball bats in response to growing fears over mass-shooting incidents in US schools.

After undergoing a day of training, around 500 teachers in Millcreek Township, in the north-western part of the state, were issued 16-inch batons to defend themselves and their students in the event of an attack.

District superintendent William Hall admitted that the wooden bats, which will be kept locked away inside each classroom, were primarily “symbolic”.

“It is the last resort,” he told Erie News Now. “But, it is an option and something we want people to be aware of.”

The unorthodox weaponry is part of a wider plan to fortify Millcreek schools against armed intruders which includes “concrete barriers, constructing secured entrances at several schools and hiring a consulting firm to re-evaluate security measures”, USA Today reports.

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 US schools.

The question of whether teachers should carry firearms to protect their classrooms from shooters has become a subject of heated political debate. In the meantime, however, some school districts have introduced their own low-tech defence strategies.

“Last month, another Pennsylvania school district announced it was equipping each classroom with five-gallon buckets of rocks,” HuffPost reports.

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