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Pennsylvania school district arms teachers with small baseball bats as ‘last resort’

by Erik Ortiz From NBC

Officials in the Millcreek Township School District said the bats are symbolic, but not all parents think they’re worth the cost.

A Pennsylvania school district’s decision to arm teachers with tiny wooden baseball bats in the event of an active shooter situation is not a hit with parents.

The Millcreek Township School District outside of Erie gained attention this week for handing out the 16-inch bats to about 500 teachers as part of a training that included how to react during a school shooting.

Schools Superintendent William Hall told NBC affiliate WICU on Tuesday that the sticks were largely symbolic — a “last resort” for teachers who want to fight back, not just hide and wait.

“We passed them out, with the goal being we wanted every room to have one of these,” Hall said of his district of more than 7,000 students. “Unfortunately, we’re in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids.”

Hall could not immediately be reached by NBC News for further comment Wednesday.

The perennial issue of school shootings has taken renewed significance after the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people at a local high school dead.

While President Donald Trump has floated the idea of schools outfitting teachers with guns — an idea praised by the NRA but panned by school safety advocates — school districts across the country are grappling with how best to protect children.

A rural school district in Pennsylvania also grabbed headlines last month for saying it would give buckets of river rocks to teachers to potentially ward off school shooters.

Small baseball bats don’t sound much better, some parents say.

“It’s not going to make some shooter stop and say, ‘Hey, I probably shouldn’t go in and do this,'” Jo Ellen Barish, a Parent Teacher Association president with a child attending a Millcreek middle school, said Wednesday.

“The people who do these things aren’t planning on getting away alive. It’s not like they have a fear of being hurt,” she added.

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