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School of rock

Is this satire, or real news?

There are some things so silly that you might find them only in academia. And some things so irresponsible that only the most delusional person could think otherwise.

It's come to our attention that, since the several school shootings this year, one school district in Pennsylvania has decided to put buckets of rocks in classrooms--for children to throw at any armed attacker.

No, this isn't the Onion; it's CNN and the Washington Post.

"Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone," said David Helsel, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in northeast Pennsylvania. "If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned."

Sure, somebody is stoned here. But we doubt throwing rocks at a gunman would do much to thwart him.

This conversation--well, not this conversation, but the one about protecting students in school--has been going on since at least Jonesboro. At this point, Editorial Action Recommendation No. 344 requires most opinion writers to lament the number of guns in this country. But such lamentations won't do any good this fall if another gunman walks onto a campus somewhere and starts shooting. Neither will Editorial Action Recommendation No. 6--this one's been around a while--which calls for a constitutional amendment to nix the Second one.

What solution is actually workable and won't take 10 years to implement?

Well, most schools have figured that out already. You can tell because on Friday nights, you will see armed police officers walking around in the stands, questioning holding calls with the fans, eating nachos at the concession stand, and generally making their presence known. On football Friday nights, at least, there are real cops standing between our kids and the crazies. Why that's not the case on Tuesday mornings is anybody's guess.

You'd turn our schools into prisons?!?!

We heard that very same argument in the 1990s, after we recommended putting locks on classroom doors and security cameras in the hallways. Nobody asked for the world to move in this direction. But it has. Put more cops on campus.

And for those poor school districts that can't afford police officers? Or those more rural campuses that can't attract police officers from the big city? Then allow a few teachers or administrators--volunteers, who are trained and cleared through background checks--to carry firearms. Doesn't such a suggestion make more sense than . . . throwing rocks? Fat lot of good that does protesters in the Middle East.

"Obviously a rock against a gun isn't a fair fight," the aforementioned super told the press, "but it's better than nothing."

No, it's not. First, it keeps students in the mix instead of fleeing danger. And it may only call attention to themselves. And the whole thing is just silly when much more responsible options are right before our noses. And right before our eyes, if we'll just see, on Friday nights.

Editorial on 06/12/2018

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