Students in Erie, Pennsylvania, need no longer worry about school shooters, as their teachers will now be armed.

With tiny baseball bats.

The school district has given teachers the tiny bats in response to school shootings, though the exact reason for the bats is a little unclear. The district said it wanted the 16-inch bats to remind teachers to fight back in case of a school shooting. But it also said it wanted a “consistent tool” with which the teachers could fight.

This is not the first time a school district in Pennsylvania has handed teachers a less-than-lethal response to a school shooter since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Previously, a school district near Harrisburg hid buckets of rocks around the school. This was not a protest move, a snarky way to call for arming teachers. According to the Blue Mountain School District, the rocks were a legitimate part of the school’s defense plan, which has since been upgraded to include armed security.

Here in Florida, a wide-ranging school safety bill passed in the last legislative session included a provision that would allow some teachers to be armed with actual guns. But both a county sheriff and a county school district have to sign on, and so far, there’s no desire on the part of any school board or sheriff’s office in South Florida to get involved.

The Legislature doled out $67 million for the program, an amount that will almost certainly be revisited next year.

We’re asking readers about arming teachers, especially with less-than-lethal items such as rocks and bats.

Assuming it’s not effective to bring a teeny bat to a gunfight, what’s the psychology at play here? And why does this keep happening in Pennsylvania? Is this state the Florida of the northeast?

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(c)2018 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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