Principal’s Plan Asks Middle Schoolers To Hurl Canned Food At School Shooters

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If all goes according to plan, any armed intruder at W.F. Burns Middle School in rural Valley, Ala. is in for a serious and painful pelting of Campbell’s soup, Manwich and Pork N Beans.

In a letter sent home to parents, school principal Priscilla Holley asked that each student’s family contribute one 8 oz. canned food item for defending against a shooter, local CBS affiliate WRBL reports.

“We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard,” the letter explains.

Obviously, this aspect of the letter assumes that no school shooter in the town of 9,524 will have knowledge of the letter or the canned food drive. But, never mind.

“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” the missive continues. “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.”

Holley did not mastermind the can-throwing idea herself. Instead, it is one of many details in a larger emergency program called “ALICE” — Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

The program, used in some 1,500 schools, instructs that throwing anything at an active shooter that is heavy but easy to throw could be a last-resort way to survive the situation. In addition to cans, textbooks might work.

“What ALICE promotes is that you have objects around the classroom that are available to you that you can readily throw,” said school district superintendent Kelli Moore Hodge told the CBS affiliate. “But that is the very last resort and the very smallest part of this entire training.”

The goal of the program is to keep students alive and, ultimately, “to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks,” Hodge told WHNT, another nearby CBS station.

The superintendent noted that feedback about canned-food combat plans has been mixed. Some Facebook comments have been negative, for example, but Hodge thinks many of those critics don’t actually have children enrolled in the local school system.

Schools and school districts have long struggled with the problem of how to keep students safe from an armed intruder.

In Maricopa County, Ariz., for example, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” enlisted Steven Seagal, America’s leatheriest direct-to-video badass, to lead a training event designed to show 40 armed volunteers how to respond properly to a school shooting. That was back in 2013. (RELATED: Steven Seagal Will Show Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Posse How To Handle School Shootings)

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