It has been almost two months since the most recent mass school shooting devastated Parkland, Florida. In that time, the debate about how to end gun violence has raged on, and schools have struggled to find ways to improve their safety. The superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, where the Parkland shooting took place, has mandated clear backpacks for students. And other districts are taking similar measures, with one Pennsylvania school district giving teachers baseball bats to attack potential shooters.
William Hall, superintendent of the Millcreek Township School District, announced on April 11th that about 500 teachers had been armed with 16-inch wooden bats. The bats, which were given to teachers after a training session about how to act during a shooting, cost about $3 each. Hall said that the bats were meant to be used as a last resort, and that they would primarily be a reminder that in an emergency, teachers can fight back.
The souvenir-sized baseball bats are part of the district’s new active shooter response plan. Hall told the Washington Post that the response plan includes hiding, running, and attacking as a last resort. He said that the bats will be locked up when school is in session.
As Hall acknowledged, arming teachers with baseball bats is not likely to put an end to school shootings. While a bat might be able to distract or disarm a shooter in some circumstances, when facing a gunman wielding an AR-15, it doesn’t seem like it will do much, if anything at all. The bottom line is that teachers shouldn’t need to be armed with baseball bats. We need to stop school shootings before they begin, and that means changing our gun control laws. We need to end gun violence now.