Middle school students in Alabama are being advised to stash canned food throughout their classrooms to be used as weapons against possible armed intruders.
W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Priscilla Holley, who sent a letter home to parents last week, announced the new safety procedure after discussing the issue with law enforcement.
Speaking with WHNT 19, Holley said the policy was modeled after a survival tactic know as ALICE, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
“As a result of school shootings throughout the United States and discussing with law enforcement on the best procedure to follow to keep our students safe, we are enhancing our procedure for intruders,” Holley stated.
According to the letter, students are encouraged to empower themselves by bringing an 8 oz. canned food item from home.
“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” the letter says. “The canned food item would give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters the classroom.”
Superintendent of Chambers County Schools Dr. Kelli Hodge claimed that getting children evacuated, not throwing cans of green beans, was the main point of the policy shift.
“I can honestly say that the major point of the the training… is to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks,” Hodge said.
Reactions to the plan have reportedly been mixed, with many on Facebook calling the policy “dangerous” and “stupid.”
“Never bring a can of food to a gun fight,” one commenter said.
Others applauded the school for at least encouraging children to fight back.
“Have you ever been hit with a can of peas? It hurts… so this as a last resort, might help if they got hit enough times,” another said.
Many commenters voiced their belief that having an armed school staff would be the best way to defend students.
Regardless, the new policy is a step up from the usual anti-self defense rhetoric often passed down by the federal government.