In Rochester, Michigan, Police Chief Mark Gordon suggested that students and faculty at Oakland University should arm themselves with hockey pucks for self-defense against active shooters. It was, he said, a “spur-of-the-moment idea that seemed to have some merit to it and it kind of caught on,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
Professor Tom Discenna, who teaches communication and presides over the faculty union, liked the suggestion. The union then purchased 2,500 hockey pucks at about one dollar each. Earlier this month, according to The Free Press, the union distributed the black rubber discs to university staff and students on the suburban Detroit campus. Discenna said of the pucks, “It’s just the idea of having something, a reminder that you’re not powerless and you’re not helpless in the classroom.”
In addition to serving as a rudimentary weapon, the pucks are imprinted with a number which people can enter on the Oakland University website and donate money to be used for locks on classroom doors.
A former hockey coach, Chief Gordon said that the best first response to an active shooter is to run and hide. He asserted that hockey pucks may be relied upon as a last ditch defense. “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,” Gordon told The Free Press. “[A hockey puck] was just a thing that was 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.”
A similar situation unfolded in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, in March. Each classroom in the Blue Mountain School District is now equipped with a 5-gallon bucket full of rocks for pelting any active shooters. Superintendent of Schools David Helsel told a local ABC affiliate, “We’ve been trying to be proactive just in case,” and added, “How can you aim a gun if you’re being pelted with rocks?” However, just to be on the safe side, faculty members and students are given active shooter training through a program known as ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Active-shooter practices are held several times each year at Oakland University.
The American Association of University Professors donated $5,000 toward new inside locks for 37 classrooms, while Oakland University Student Congress donated the same amount for new locks.