When I first read this, I was relatively certain it was an Onion parody. The photo that headlines this article is one of my all-time favorite Onion headlines. You get the picture. Tragically, this story is deadly serious, obviously more deadly than those involved understand. ABC News reports:
An Alabama middle school principal wants to stockpile cans of corn and peas in classrooms for students to hurl at possible intruders as a last resort defense.
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.’
The school is in Valley, Alabama, part of the Chambers County school system.
I hope, gentle readers, you are immediately seeing the absolute lunacy involved in this. It gets worse:
Chambers County Schools Superintendent Kelli Hodge told The Associated Press on Tuesday that school staff had been working with Auburn University’s Department of Public Safety on training to respond to such emergencies.
However, Chance Corbett, Auburn’s associate director of public safety, said he had actually referred the school to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for active shooter training after learning Monday that school officials wanted the training.
The food cans would be stored in classrooms and students wouldn’t be carrying them around school, Hodge told the AP.
Using cans or other items as weapons would be a last resort for students unable to evacuate, she said.
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.
If the cans are not needed for security, they will be donated to a local food pantry at the end of the year, Holley told parents.
‘We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared,’ she wrote.
If I didn’t understand the educator mindset, I would be dumbfounded. In a last-ditch, deadly force situation, it’s obviously better to go down fighting than to passively wait one’s turn to be slaughtered, but that’s not the point. I’ll get to that shortly.
Having canned goods stored somewhere in the classroom will give children “a sense of empowerment to protect themselves?” It will “make them feel secure in case an intruder enters their classroom?”
Why would any sane person allow adults that actually think this a rational response to the danger of armed attack to have anything to do with the education of children? Why would such people be allowed to be responsible for the very lives of children?
I can see it now: an armed madman, or better yet, armed terrorists are breaking down a classroom door, so Mrs. Politically Correct organizes the second graders in two ranks, like 19th century British troops, and hands out their canned hand grenades, so when the killers smash through the door and start shooting, the kids can, on command, provide a devastating barrage of canned peas and corn that will also serve to absorb and deflect bullets.
I’ve seen various videos produced by people selling this scenario. It’s just heart warming. Little kids toss a few things at an armed bad guy, which immediately forces him to stop shooting them–usually, they never get a chance to fire a shot–and the little kiddies rush the bad guy, who almost immediately falls to the floor, where the teacher leaps on them and holds them for the police as the kids pile on.
In a real attack, these pathetic “tactics” would result only in a floor knee deep in the blood of children.
Superintendent Hodge–I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for good intentions–is right: the kids will be targets if the need to throw cans of food at a killer becomes manifest, but if never bringing a knife to a gun fight is good advice, never bringing vegetables is brilliant advice.
Obviously, Hodge is like most educators: absolutely clueless about violence, and particularly about deadly force encounters. It is also not surprising that a University police agency would be supporting such deadly nonsense rather than dealing seriously with a deadly serious threat. The heads of such agencies commonly owe their jobs to paying proper deference to the politically correct currents of the moment. Being properly armed and prepared to deter, or if necessary stop armed killers is absolutely not politically correct.
In any school attack scenario, it is unlikely there would be sufficient time for teachers to break out the canned ammunition and pass it around to children, who would almost certainly be far too frightened to use cans of veggies as effective weapons. All a killer need do, if he was in any way intimidated by such things–highly unlikely–is simply use the classroom door frame as cover and slaughter the inhabitants of the classroom to his evil heart’s content, safe from whatever might be tossed his way. Being notified of a potential can barrage, what would keep a killer from equipping himself with a helmet and face shield? Not that such would be necessary.
Consider the frame of mind of educators who would ignore the only way to not only deter, but to absolutely stop, armed attackers: arming willing teachers and staff with concealed handguns. It is horrifying and perverse that educators, by and large, would, by ignoring this reality, knowingly put children in a position where their only chance for survival amounted to hiding in a classroom, and when under direct attack, tossing cans of food at their killers.
There are many people making a great deal of money selling the “run, hide, and throw stuff at attackers” response model to school districts. They know suckers when they see them.
Counter attacking an armed killer, with the same or greater force, when and where they attack is the only sure way to save lives. To purposely do less forces the innocent to hide, or if possible, flee, and puts them at the mercy of lunatics or fanatics that have no mercy. In such cases, anyone that survives does so though the application of nothing more positive and effective than dumb luck.
I have no doubt that Ms. Hodge, and those that think like her, believe they are actually doing something positive and effective to protect children and teachers. I’ve no doubt they hold to such beliefs with religious conviction. I’ve also no doubt that the very idea of arming teachers would be horrifying to them.
Where considering how to save the lives of children is concerned, I can think of little that is more horrifying.