“Flee when you can, and fight when you must.”

That’s the new school safety plan at a school district near Erie, Pennsylvania. As schools across the country take a hard look at their readiness for an attack, this district is actually arming their teachers with an unorthodox “weapon” in the event they ever have to fight. The weapons are inspired by those miniature baseball bats sold at souvenir stands in stadiums everywhere. Actually, the weapons are those very same miniature bats.

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That’s right, teachers will have to do battle with glorified drumsticks. In the event of a hobbit attack or squirrel invasion, these bats will come in very handy.

The district superintendent says teachers aren’t expected to confront an attacker with these chopsticks-on-steroids. Which is good, because their only chance with a miniature bat would have to be a perfectly placed ninja-throw from several feet away.

The superintendent says, “The bats are more symbolic than anything. However, we do want to have one consistent tool to have at somebody’s disposal in a classroom in the event they have to fight.”

How ‘bout, I don’t know, a regular-sized baseball bat? Even a Little League aluminum bat would give teachers more of a fighting chance.

The district’s 500 teachers each received their 16-inch bat this week. And I’m sure they instantly felt much safer, well, after they modified their bats with nails and barbed wire.

“Even a miniature bat might be better than nothing.”

It’s easy to joke about arming teachers with souvenir bats, but the reality is that the organizations that train teachers in how to survive attacks recommend trying to throw books, chairs and any items at hand at an attacker if the victims are unable to escape. Another reality is that typical classrooms only have one door, so students and teachers can easily be trapped during an attack. Even a miniature bat might be better than nothing.

And, at the very least, it’s good to hear about a sane school district emphasizing the potential of fighting back against an attacker rather than relying on hiding in lockdown. According to a recent local survey, the district’s residents are “overwhelmingly” in favor of giving guns to at least some teachers and staff. The only catch is, arming teachers isn’t yet legal in Pennsylvania.

So, until that happens, these teachers are going to need some bigger bats.

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