Friday April 13, 2018
Lawmakers seem amused while discussing classroom security.
On March 15, a school safety hearing was facilitated by the House Education Committee in Harrisburg. During the hearing, David Helsel, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District, explained that classrooms there are equipped with 5-gallon buckets of river rocks. His district follows the ALICE protocols to address school shooter situations. Those protocols include countermeasures, in this case throwing the rocks at an intruder.
Video of this hearing quickly went viral. People across the country began debating the effectiveness and sensibility of the "buckets of rocks." That debate is worthwhile. Lost in the discussion was the issue that prompted a witness to post the original video. It wasn't the rocks; it was the behaviors of our representatives on the committee.
Lawmakers chuckled throughout the hearing, made light of the issue and spun yarns about their own children throwing rocks. Faced with arguably the most serious issue on the minds of schoolchildren, their families, teachers and administrators, our representatives laughed. Given the opportunity to discuss and take a leadership role to find resolutions, they laughed.
Once again, our state representatives have made national news for all the wrong reasons. Voters must reassess our representation in the General Assembly in November. I don't believe it's hyperbole to suggest our children's lives depend on us.
Safety in schools is no laughing matter