A school district in Erie, Pennsylvania has armed its teachers with miniature baseball bats to use as a last resort against active shooters.
The superintendent of Millcreek Township School District said Wednesday that the 18-inch wood bats are also meant to be "symbolic," not just practical, the New York Times reported.
"We don't want to be sitting ducks," William Hall told the Times. "We're not just going to hide."
The baseball bats are meant to be a reminder that traditional responses to active shooters in schools—such as turning off the lights in the classroom, shutting the door, and hiding—are not enough.
"I think a bat could disarm a pistol with a nice swing," Hall said, adding that part of one's response to a shooter should be to "assess your environment for anything that could be used as a potential weapon or to defend yourself."
The 600 bats each cost $3.
Jon Cacchione, president of the Millcreek teachers' union, said the idea of handing out bats is better than doing nothing.
"Is this going to make the difference if we have an active shooter? I don't know," he told the Times, but said the bats, along with other changes the district is employing, are "an improvement of what we had before."
The Times noted that social media users have castigated the school district's new policy.
Supplying Millcreek Township School District teachers with bats is the latest action in a movement to determine new security responses to active shooters in schools. In March, following the previous month's mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump proposed arming school staff who undergo training as a way to better ensure school safety.
The Blue Mountain School District in rural Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania has armed its students with rocks as a last resort against armed intruders. Every classroom now has a five-gallon bucket of rocks that students can use in case there is an active shooter.