Honestly, I was pretty sure this story was a hoax or a piece of satire when I first saw it but it’s being reported by Fox, CBS, The Hill, NBC, HuffPost and several others. So if it is a hoax it’s one that has fooled everyone. A school district in Pennsylvania has come up with a unique response to the Parkland shooting. The district spent about $1,800 to arm all of its teachers with miniature baseball bats. From CBS News:

“It is the last resort,” said Millcreek Schools Superintendent William Hall, “but it is an option and something we want people to be aware of.”

According to Hall, the 16-inch bats were distributed to each teacher following an in-service training day on how to respond to school shootings.

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

Hall says the bats are primarily “symbolic”, but are now an option for teachers to use, should they need to fight back in a school shooting.

Even the proponents seem to think this is silly. On the one hand, they are saying the bats are symbolic, a reminder that in a worst case scenario people may have to fight. That’s actually a point worth making. But once you acknowledge that you might have to fight, shouldn’t you take the next step and give teachers something they could actually fight with?

And that’s where this becomes a farce. The suggestion is made that maybe these mini-bats could actually be used to fight off an intruder. Unless the intruder is threatening people with tiny baseballs, I don’t think that’s going to work out very well. Frankly, even a full-size bat isn’t going to be much help against an intruder with a handgun or a rifle.

Last month another Pennsylvania school suggested putting a five-gallon bucket full of rocks in each classroom. Frankly, that would be more useful than the bats. At least you could have multiple people throwing multiple stones at an intruder. Collectively, that might be enough to deter a shooter, but I still wouldn’t want to face down a handgun with a bucket of rocks. Looking at the bright side, one senior at that school said, “anything helps, rocks are better than books and pencils.” He’s not wrong as far as it goes.

I don’t think every teacher should be armed. People who aren’t properly trained could wind up doing more harm than good. But I do think having multiple armed guards and a few specially-trained staff members could make a difference in a worst-case scenario like the one in Parkland. The bats are okay as a reminder that hiding may not be enough, but they need to be backed up by something that could actually stop a shooter like Nikolas Cruz in a worst-case scenario. There’s really only one tool that can do that.