W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Alabama, is hosting a very different kind of can drive.
Instead of asking students to bring in food for donation, Principal Priscella Holley wrote a letter to parents asking them to give their kids 8-ounce canned goods to hurl at school intruders, reports ABC News.
Holley believes that having a stock pile of cans for kids to chuck in each classroom would be a helpful defense against a possible attack.
“We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off guard,” the principal wrote in her letter. “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 their classroom.”
Holley goes on to explain that students would not be allowed to carry the cans outside of the classroom, and that they would only be used as a last defense when evacuation from the school is not possible.
The unorthodox safety tactic was developed after the staff of W.F. Burns Middle School and other schools in the district received training from Auburn University’s Department of Public Safety for emergencies, including shootings.
During training, teachers were taught how to barricade classrooms. Chambers County Schools Superintendent Kelli Hodge told Associated Press that students would only be allowed to throw cans if an intruder broke through the barricade.
“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. “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.”
While the school is serious about taking this precaution, they hope the cans will go unused. If that is the case, all of the canned food will be donated to a food pantry at the end of the school year.
Hodge said some of the parents have expressed shock or confusion over the school’s safety plan, but that most of the responses to Holley’s letter have been positive and supportive.
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