A new book featuring Winnie-the-Pooh is teaching some Texas elementary school students how to survive a school shooting, according to multiple outlets.
Dallas schoolchildren were introduced to a new cartoon book featuring the beloved yellow bear that teaches them how to “run, hide, fight” if a gunman breaches the school, Axios reported Tuesday. Pretorian Consulting, a law enforcement consulting firm in Houston, produced the book to help students and teachers “be prepared to appropriately respond to active shooter events while waiting for the police to arrive.”
Some parents and teachers expressed concern after allegedly not being warned about the book’s content or being unprepared to discuss the topic with young children, the Oak Cliff Advocate reported.
Dallas elementary school students got free copies of a Winnie-the-Pooh book this month — that teaches them what to do during school shootings. https://t.co/XLK9uOkXzR
— Axios (@axios) May 31, 2023
Cindy Campos said she was about to read the book to her son, Bowie, but grew hesitant to read it in front of her child when she saw its content, according to the Advocate. “There’s nothing inappropriate about the book itself, but the intent behind it …” she told the outlet. (RELATED:‘Keep Your Dirty Books In The Closet’: School Removes Multiple Books Following Muslim Community Complaints)
The book shows illustrations of the 100 Acre Woods characters, featuring messages such as “If there is danger, let Winnie-the-Pooh and his crew show you what to do,” and “hide without making a sound in a place we cannot be found,” the outlet reported. While the “run, hide, fight” instructions are allegedly both accurate and gentle in tone to ensure children are not frightened, the nature of the book is still reportedly causing concern among some parents.
Parents are the ones who tend to be more worried about school shootings than their children, according to Dr. Jamie Howard, director of trauma and resilience service at the Child Mind Institute. Discussing the topic “can actually alleviate any anxiety they might be feeling,” Howard says.
“These discussions are a chance for you to answer questions that they might have and provide some reassurance,” according to Howard. “While you can’t promise that their school will never have a shooting, you can in good faith tell them that school shootings are actually very rare and remind them that they practice drills at school to keep them safe.”
“Recently a booklet was sent home so parents could discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases,” the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) later wrote in a statement cited by the Advocate. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents any guide or context. We apologize for the confusion and are thankful to parents who reached out to assist us in being better partners.”