Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Pennsylvania school district that gave students buckets of ROCKS to defend themselves in mass shootings say they will now use armed guards

The Pennsylvania school district that stocked its classrooms with a bucket of stones last week has announced that they will replace the rocks with armed guards.

Blue Mountain School District put a five-gallon bucket of river stones - which are smooth and used for landscaping - in the closet of every elementary, middle and high school classroom on Friday.

But on Sunday, David Helsel, the superintendent of the district, wrote on Facebook that the district will be putting armed guards in schools in a letter addressed to parents, students and staff.

'As all of you are aware, recently there has been a great deal of media attention brought to Blue Mountain School District.

'This attention was due to social media posts that took comments out of context and misrepresented our actual planned response to armed intruders (particularly with the planned use of stones),' the post read.

'This unfortunate circumstance has increased our concern regarding the possibility that something may happen because of the media attention. Starting tomorrow [Monday] and into the near future, we have arranged for additional armed security for our buildings.

Helsel said the district will continue to reevaluate the situation moving forward.  

On Friday, the district stocked every classroom with a bucket of stones so students as young as four could use them to fight off shooters.

Students were encouraged to arm themselves with a stone and get out of the shooter's line of sight rather crawl under their desks, which the president of the district believes makes them more vulnerable.

Helsel told ABC News: 'We've been trying to be proactive just in case. 'We wanted to provide some type of last response to an intruder... rather than crawling under a desk and getting shot.'

Hesel said he still advises teachers evacuate their students if an armed shooter gains access to a school building.

But if the intruder gets near a certain class, they should bolt the door and arm themselves with one of the stones.

These can be used if the shooter gains access, he said, adding: 'How can you aim a gun if you're being pelted with rocks?

'While I don't like that we need to do this, this response is better than doing nothing.'

Blue Mountain School District has 2,700 students and is located 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia.


How This College Conservative Counters Liberal Intolerance on Massachusetts Campuses

The leader of Republican groups at Massachusetts colleges says the position is rewarding because it allows him to support fellow students, such as the one who felt attacked by a professor who openly derided President Donald Trump.

The episode occurred last fall at Bridgewater State University, where Jason Ross is a senior.

“It wasn’t a class I was in, it was actually a girl I know [and] a class she was in,” Ross, 22, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “The professor, he posted on Facebook, ‘F— Donald Trump and f— anyone who voted for Donald Trump, you are not welcome here.’”

“And that Facebook [page] was something he would use to promote things for the class as well,” Ross added.

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Ross, who is chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, said his friend was reluctant to speak with the English professor who posted such statements.

“She didn’t know how to approach it. I mean, it is her professor, it is someone who grades her papers, it is someone who determines if she graduates,” Ross said.

He offered to go to bat for his fellow student, Ross said. He set up a meeting with the president of Bridgewater State University, Fred Clark, to discuss the English professor, Garrett Nichols, and what his friend considered intimidating attacks on Trump and the president’s supporters.

Nichols made derogatory comments about Trump only on Facebook, Ross said, but “was also very divisive in class.”

He said he was pleased when the university put Nichols on temporary leave as a result.

The Washington Times reported that Bridgewater State University released a statement saying:

A member of our campus community made statements on his personal social media account that do not represent our institutional values of respect. The success of our students is paramount; we aspire to have all members of our campus community model civility for our students and for each other.

As state chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans for nearly a year, Ross oversees all 24 College Republicans chapters in the liberal state, encompassing about 2,000 students.

Ross previously was secretary for Massachusetts College Republicans and chairman of the Bridgewater State University chapter of the group, which he founded.

The college senior is among young Americans participating in the White House’s “Generation Next” conference for millennials, scheduled Thursday afternoon at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The gathering will focus on jobs, the opioid drug crisis, and free speech on campus, and include appearances by Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump.

Ross is a political science major, with a concentration in public administration.

“Political campaigns can be fun, and stressful, but my true passion is public service,” he told The Daily Signal. “As a proud Eagle Scout, I love helping people and the community, so I would ultimately love to be a town administrator.”

Ross is from West Bridgewater, a small farm town in Massachusetts. His father repairs trucks and sells truck parts, and his mother is a makeup artist.

“My parents are both moderately conservative, but we very rarely discussed politics growing up, so I would say my parents did not influence my political beliefs,” Ross said.

“Philosophically, I would say they did shape me, by encouraging me to grow up as a Roman Catholic. And my dad always encouraged me to stay involved in Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts, and my journey to achieving Eagle Scout, I would say had the greatest impact shaping who I am today,” he said.

Ross is the first in his family to go to  college, which he says should be a place that welcomes opposing or minority viewpoints.

“Regardless of your political party … if someone is not welcome, or a certain type of group based simply on beliefs is not welcomed, I mean, that’s absurd.”

Even though his views don’t align with those of the school administration, Ross said, he credits it for decisiveness.

“I’ve got to give it to the university president, Fred Clark. Obviously we don’t agree on many things, but what we do agree on is when action needs to be taken, action needs to be taken,” Ross said.

“Discrimination against anyone is unacceptable, especially for … a college campus, where civil discourse and diversity of beliefs, thoughts, and ideologies should be accepted and welcomed.”

The Daily Signal requested comment from both Nichols and Clark, but did not receive a response by publication deadline.

This wasn’t the first time Ross met with the university president to discuss concerning comments made by professors.

A professor in the political science department, the Republican student leader said, made remarks in class that were disrespectful of military veterans as well as Trump.

“He said derogatory things toward veterans,” Ross said. “I don’t remember the exact quotes, but he said something along the lines of, ‘They’re not the brightest bunch; anyone who votes for Donald Trump or a Republican, they’re not the brightest, they’re stupid.’”

Ross said the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans faced a big protest when it hosted an event with veterans on issues important to them and included the head of the Massachusetts chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“A lot of the students were outside protesting, putting Iraqi flags outside, like planting them in the ground,” Ross said. “This would be like Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi flags, it was just so disrespectful.”

His role as state chairman of College Republicans exposes him to the sort of personal attacks from the left that he seeks to defend other students from, Ross said:

I have gotten a lot of negative feedback from people who do not even know me necessarily, which I think is always funny. I probably get four [Facebook] friend requests a day from people I don’t even know. And I’d say half of them are very left wing and they—not every day, occasionally—they will message me. And … it will be nasty stuff, just mean stuff.

Despite such pushback, the college senior sounds optimistic.

Massachusetts chapters of College Republicans have grown during his tenure, he said, expanding from roughly 10 active chapters and fewer than 1,000 members statewide to 24 active chapters and more than 2,000 members:

Under my leadership, we have also fundraised significantly more than ever before. Because of that, we have been able to produce chapter supplies such as posters, koozies, and stickers, all proudly produced locally in Massachusetts by a small business, which has effectively helped recruit more members and keep current members interested and proud to be part of the organization.

We’ve grown so much, and that’s what I want. I am not doing this for a Republican cause, I am doing this … for the people to just get involved and learn more.


Higher Education: Dividing to Conquer

Most of us don’t need polls to tell us what we already know: America is increasingly divided. But where, exactly, are those splits — and what’s driving them? What Pew Research found might surprise you.

It’s no secret that white evangelicals are overwhelmingly Republican, but what is news is how much that percentage has grown. A larger swath of evangelicals than ever is identifying with or leaning toward the GOP: 77 percent at Pew’s last count. That’s a 16-point increase since 1994. But what’s raised even more eyebrows may be the large defection of white Catholics from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Today, the Republicans’ share of the white Catholic vote is 54 percent, compared to 45 percent two and a half decades ago. Obviously, the Obama-era attacks on conscience, taxpayer-funded abortion, and faith-based groups like Catholic Charities are having a major impact on the voting trends of this once heavily-Democratic population.

Democrats are also reaping one of the only rewards of their anti-faith crusade — a larger share of the religiously unaffiliated vote. It seems that kicking God out of their platform and declaring war on religious freedom made the party more appealing to these small, but growing, number of Americans. “Religiously unaffiliated voters, who made up just eight percent of the electorate two decades ago, now constitute about a quarter (24 percent) of all registered voters,” Pew points out.

Obviously, social media shows us every day just how polarized America has become. But there may also be a growing gap between the two political parties that wasn’t nearly as pronounced as it is now. In the last 17 years, researchers have noticed a big uptick in the percentages of people who identify as “conservative” or “liberal” within their party — a 10-point jump for Republicans and an even bigger leap, 18 points, for Democrats. Conservatives still dominate the Republican Party (making up 68 percent) more than liberals dominate the Democratic Party (who make up 46 percent), but the factions within both are climbing — and fast.

Another area of Pew’s survey that’s incredibly significant is the sharp rise in college Democrats. When you look at the voters who’ve gotten their degrees, a majority of them (58 percent) identify as Democrat. There was a time not too long ago when that number was split right down the middle. Now, it seems more obvious than ever why liberals are fighting to control speech on college campuses. Apparently, these are their most productive recruiting centers! In public schools, the groundwork has already been laid for the intense indoctrination teenagers experience when they leave for college.

What can parents do about that? A lot. The Left doesn’t want you to know what a tremendous influence you can have on the future of America by raising your children to know Christ. First, we have to start at home by teaching our children the truths of Scripture — not just Bible stories, but the truths of God’s Word. As moms and dads, we need to live those truths out and model them at home to our kids. Then, when they’re ready to leave the nest, let’s try to invest in education that affirms what we stand for. If you can, send them to Christian universities and colleges that have a biblical foundation — not to liberal campuses that will only undermine the values you’ve been teaching.

The media would love to say that Pew’s survey is another death rattle for the GOP, that its evangelical support is tapped out. But nothing could be further from the truth. As more evangelicals live up to their name and share their faith, more hearts and minds will change. Our numbers will continue to grow as people begin to live differently and look at the world differently. And that includes their political engagement. Our faith is transformative. If anything, that’s how we secure America’s future.


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