As a last resort against an armed intruder, one school is trying out hockey pucks
On the surface, hockey pucks seem pretty harmless — they’re just the small, round thing players shoot into goal zones. If you hold one in your hand, they’re heavier than you think. And they have caused many an injury on the ice — which is why one Michigan school thinks they’re a possible defense against active shooters.
Oakland University, a public college in Michigan, is handing out thousands of hockey pucks to students on campus. The idea came to school administrators during an active-shooter training for faculty earlier this year. One facutly member asked the local chief of police, Mark Gordon, what items people could use to defend themselves should a situation arise. The school currently has a no-weapons policy.
Gordon advised participants to be ready to throw something — anything — in order to distract the shooter. He said if fleeing or hiding aren’t options, a hockey puck could be a last resort. “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,” Gordon tells the Detroit Free Press.
Soon after the meeting, the faculty union voted in favor of the idea and began purchasing the pucks — which cost 94 cents each.
And before anyone bashes the idea hockey pucks as a defense against an armed intruder, Tom Discenna, a professor of communication and president of the faculty union, brings up a good point: “It’s just the idea of having something, a reminder that you’re not powerless and you’re not helpless in the classroom.”
The pucks also serve a secondary purpose: fundraising. Individual pucks have been imprinted with a number people can enter on the university’s website to donate money toward new interior locks for classroom doors. Only some of the doors on campus are lockable from the hallway.
“We know locking the classroom, in and of itself, is a big deterrent” to a shooter being able to enter the room, Gordon says.
The university’s active shooter training sessions are held several times a year and focus on fleeing first. If that’s not possible, then hiding. According to Gordon, fighting back by throwing a hockey puck or through other means should be “an absolute last strategy.”