6 Objects Schools Armed Students with to Fight Active Shooters

Some K-12 schools and colleges have chosen to “arm” students and teachers with items that can be used as weapons against an active shooter.

6 Objects Schools Armed Students with to Fight Active Shooters

While many safety experts say fighting should be the last option in protecting oneself against an active shooter and others say the “fight” component of “run, hide, fight” shouldn’t be adopted at all, some campuses have been getting creative with different objects they believe can double as weapons.

In 2015, a middle school in Alabama requested parents send their children to school with canned goods that could be used to distract or injure an active shooter.

“We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard,” read a letter from the school’s principal. “The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive. The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters the classroom.”

Last month, the police chief of a Michigan university came up with the idea to arm students and faculty with hockey pucks following a campus presentation on emergency preparedness.

“It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment idea that seemed to have some merit to it and it kind of caught on,” he said. “[Hockey pucks] have enough mass to cause injury, small enough to be thrown, [are] portable and they’re not considered a weapon.”

Check out the slideshow for more information on the stories mentioned above and other campuses that have decided to “arm” students and staff.*

*Please note Campus Safety does not endorse the use of any of these items as weapons. We are simply reporting on what some school districts and college campuses have chosen to do.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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6 responses to “6 Objects Schools Armed Students with to Fight Active Shooters”

  1. Rick says:

    Some CA schools put buckets of rocks into classrooms, some are using other impromptu items. Nothing will stop a killer quicker than a trained person with a firearm; statistics and tactics adopted by law enforcement bear this out. Train school staff and allow citizens to CCW on campus, place signs up warning intruders that deadly force will be used to stop threats; then you truly have a safe zone and crooks will go elsewhere.

  2. Todd Forbes says:

    All six of these supposed solutions to help empower the students and staff require the individual to position themselves in the line of fire. These solutions would also only be used as a final option once the aggressor has gained entry to the classroom. the solution to this issue is to prevent the aggressor from getting into the room in the first place. Given the short time line the bad guy has to create as much mayhem as possible a secured out swinging classroom door will save more lives than throwing rocks or spraying Mace on everyone.

  3. Tom H Tisdale says:


  4. Jeff W says:

    Seems to me that these solutions would be last resort, as was said, might work more on door locks activated from inside the class room to keep the shooter out. Also, Rick mentioned CCW on campus, only thing I might suggest is more training than you get in CCW class and ongoing practice with situations and your firearm.
    I am a CCW but I do see the need for more training and ongoing practice.
    Greg Ellifritz (Active Response Trainer) said in an article, “Most educated firearms trainers would barely consider a state concealed carry course as “formal training.” CCW classes are generally geared to novices and focus on safely handling a firearm rather than teaching anything that could be considered “tactical.” Yet many shooters stop their education there. It’s not enough.”

  5. Nelson Pangilinan says:

    The first and foremost thing that school administrators must do is to strengthen the physical security aspect of the building. The fence/gate as the first line of defence. Security essentials such as X-ray machine, walk-thru detectors, cctv cameras and employment of guards with sufficient training in combat shooting. Using civilian guards in the vicinity of the school may also consider. The second program must be the education and training in safety and security for all teachers and students. The third is to exercise what they learnt thru periodic drills.

  6. EDWARD CLARK says:

    There is no Green Beret Secret Handshake to School Security. You must follow the principles of Security Risk Management, conduct the appropriate assessments and enforce them and test them. Too many technology providers are pawning their sales calls off as “Security Assessments” to make a sale. Each school must implement security measures to Deter, Detect, Assess, Delay and Respond. Sadly, the response is never fast enough and as many here have said an armed staff member, while not a viable response is a very effective delay feature. We have taught teachers to shoot and the program is very effective. A teacher with a fire extinguisher is not a fireman. A teacher with a firearm is not a policeman, but each has a much better ability to stop or greatly limit the impact of an attack. The problem is that no one wants to pay for it. A bucket of soup cans cannot hurt, but let’s do our best as security professionals and academics so kids don’t have to do their best against a shooter.

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