A principal at an Alabama middle school is asking parents to equip their children with canned goods to better protect themselves against potential gunmen.
W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Priscella Holley sent out a memo to parents on Jan. 9 asking them to send their children back to school with canned food items. The reason behind the request was not for a food drive or charity event as you might imagine, but instead, to protect themselves in case of a school shooting.
“We realize at first this may seem odd, however it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard,” the letter stated. “The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until police arrive. The canned good 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...
“We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared.”
Holley added that should the canned goods go unused, they would be donated to a local food pantry.
The unusual defense tactic is part of the ALICE method, which has been adopted by elementary schools in 30 states, along with Auburn University. It is a part of new safety school guidelines that were ordered by the Department of Education in 2013.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. The training video teaches students how to respond during a shooting. “I can honestly say that the major point of the training… is to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks,” Kelli Hodge, who is the superintendent of Chambers County Schools, told WHNT.
The throwing of the cans would fall under stage C in the ALICE method. It encourages students to fight back instead of running and hiding.
The ALICE method does not discriminate when it comes to what you can throw at the perpetrator. The training video states that textbooks, staplers, binders, mugs, chairs, shoes or music stands are also acceptable to use during a fight with a school shooter.
The training video even includes a dramatization of a school shooting, where a girl named Alice and her rabbit friend guide students through what to do in such a scenario. To her credit, Alice does tell students that escaping should be the first order of action and that students should not attack unless they “absolutely have to.”
You can watch the training video below.