I’ve been sitting on this story for a few days because, frankly, I couldn’t believe it. I was sure someone was putting me on. We’ve heard of really awful responses to the extremely rare school shootings that happen in this country, including simulated attacks that terrify children and serve no purpose whatsoever. But this has to be among the stupidest responses I’ve read:
School officials have gotten some criticism for sending a letter to parents asking students to bring canned goods to attack would-be intruders.
“We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard,” the letter reads, according to CNN affiliate WRBL. “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.”
Chambers County School Superintendent Kelli Moore Hodge acknowledges that the middle school didn’t educate people properly before sending the letter home, but she says the cans are a very small part of the training.
“The major point of the training (which is called ALICE – Alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate) is to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks,” Hodge wrote in an email.
Once the door has been locked and barricaded and students have moved to an area out of sight, students should have a plan if the attacker breaks into the room.
That’s when canned goods and other classroom items come into play.
“Start gathering several items you can use to protect yourself. Every room has something you can use to distract and defend from the aggressors’ attack,” says the Auburn video’s narrator. “Communicate with others around you and tell them your plan. Don’t wait until the aggressor gets into your safe area to have a plan of action.”
Students can throw books, book bags, computers and, yes, those canned goods to distract any aggressor.
Apparently, they thought Eddie Izzard was serious when he joked about how the British defended themselves from the Nazis at the beginning of World War II.
This is insane. As I have argued before, just about any preparation for a mass shooting is borderline insane. The odds of this happening at any school in America in any particular year are literally one in a million. I won’t say this is worse than people being paid huge salaries to play cops and robbers in a school during “drills”. But Good Lord, this is stupid.
Congratulations, W.F. Burns Middle School and ALICE. You are an early frontrunner for Turkey of the Year. And it’s only January.