Students and faculty at a university in suburban Detroit have been armed with an innovative way to protect themselves in the event of an active shooter: hockey pucks.
Tom Discenna, a professor of communication at Oakland University in Auburn, Hills, led an effort by the faculty union to purchase 2,500 of the 94-cent hockey pucks — 800 for union members and another 1,700 for students. In addition, the Oakland University Student Congress also recently ordered 1,000 hockey pucks that it intends to distribute to students.
“We thought ‘yeah, that is something that we can do,’ ” the president of the Faculty Union told reporters Tuesday. “We can make these available at least to our members and a fair number of students as well.”
Oakland University is a public university with an enrollment of around 20,000 students, according to the school’s website.
In March, Police Chief Mark Gordon, a former youth hockey coach, was asked by faculty members at a training session what they should do if a gunman enters their classroom.
With weapons not allowed on campus, Gordon said to throw anything that could distract a shooter if fleeing or hiding also aren’t an option.
The police chief said the puck idea “was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment idea that seemed to have some merit to it and it kind of caught on,” Gordon said.
“Anything that you can throw that’s heavy and will cause damage, cause injury is the bottom line of what you’re trying to do,” he said, adding the hockey puck “was just a thing that we suggested that could possibly work, especially when you have 20 or 30 people in a classroom and they all throw hockey pucks at the same time, it would be quite the distraction.”
An “Active Shooter” posting by the the school’s Police Department recommends as a last resort to “act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.”
The hockey pucks are also part of fundraising to install interior locks on classroom doors.
Each puck is imprinted with a number for people to enter on the university’s website to donate money toward the new locks.
Student body vice president Brittany Kleinschmidt, a junior, said the effort “gets people talking.”
The school’s American Association of University Professors union and Student Congrees also have donated $5,000 each toward new inside locks for the 37 classrooms in one classroom building.
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