[guest post by Dana]
Public schools in America. I thought nothing coming out of them could surprise me, but then I read about this. In Alabama, the actions of one middle school appeared so ridiculous that even Snopes was compelled to confirm the veracity of the story.
In a letter Friday, W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Priscella Holley asked parents to have each student bring an 8-ounce canned item.
We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off guard,” she wrote in the letter, published by TV station WHNT in Huntsville.
“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” Holley wrote. “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 their classroom.”
When asked about the canned food empowerment, Superintendent Kelli Hodge explained:
This plan is the result of an active shooter school training program called ALICE: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.
Using cans or other items as weapons would be a last resort for students unable to evacuate, Hodge told the AP.
Teachers are taught to barricade classroom doors if an intruder is in the school, but if that fails, the cans and items such as textbooks could be used, she said.
“If somebody is going to force their way through, then as the last resort you would start throwing any objects you could get your hands on,” Hodge said.
Asked whether throwing cans of food could make a student a target, Hodge said they would already be a target at that point.
“If it comes to the situation that they are forced to do that, then they are a target because they’ve not been able to evacuate,” she said.
From the ALICE website:
The web site for the ALICE Training Institute explains the program was created after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 when a police officer and his wife, a school principal, began to look into active shooter protocols for schools and found recommendations to protect staff and students between a 911 call and the arrival of police officers were scant.
The purpose of ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training is to prepare individuals to handle the threat of an Active Shooter. ALICE teaches individuals to participate in their own survival, while leading others to safety. Though no one can guarantee success in this type of situation, this new set of skills will greatly increase the odds of survival should anyone face this form of disaster.
So, if and when an armed intruder makes his way into the classrooms at W.F. Burns Middle School or other schools that have undergone ALICE Training, he better look out. Those flying cans of food just might find their target.
Sigh. This is what public schools have come to.