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Your children "can" be safe at school in Valley, Alabama.

kid throwing food
Violence at schools have been an increasing concern for parents and school staff. We've watched the terrible tragedies that have happened when someone comes to school with a weapon. Students deserve a safe place to learn without fear of someone trying to harm them.

There have been a number of different ideas discussed about how best to insure the safety of the students and staff at school. Many schools have armed security officers, surveillance cameras, and metal detector screenings. Parents are sending their kids to school with transparent bookbags and cellphones in an effort to give their kids a feeling of security.

W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Ala.has a different plan to help keep students safe. They've asked students to bring canned goods to school so they can throw them at a potential gunman. The idea is an extension of the ALICE method, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, and teaches students what to do during a shooting.

In a letter sent home to parents on January 9,2015, Principal Priscella Holley asked them to send their children back to school with an eight-ounce can of beans, corn, soup or other canned food.

“We realize at first this may seem odd, however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard.The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until police arrive. The canned good 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."

If this sounds bizarre to you, you're not alone. What if the potential threat comes from a fellow student at the school? Surely the dangerous student would be aware of the plan and prepared for cans to be thrown. Many of the incidents of school violence have come from students that attended the school rather then an unsuspecting outsider.

Brendan Spaar remembers being in middle school and knows he wouldn't have been able to accurately throw a can (or anything else) with enough force that it would stun someone intending to harm him. In a time of crisis, the odds of being successful would be even less. Unless the intruder collapsed from laughing at the sight of kids throwing can goods at him, it's rather unlikely they'd be able to stun an intruder unless they were extremely lucky.

One would imagine that the food would have to be stored in classrooms or other easy to access locations. If an intruder did gain access to the school, would there really be time to calmly get access to the cans of food, distribute them to a group of scared kids, and then remind them of how to throw the cans for the greatest protection? That is highly doubtful.

So far there has been no response from parents. If the food isn't needed for protection, it'll be donated to a local food pantry at the end of the school year. Brendan Spaar wonders if this is truly the latest school defense plan or just a new idea for getting donations for a food drive.

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