Believe it or not, there’s a connection between canned food and school violence. According to local news station Alabama 13, Principal Priscella Holley of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, AL, sent a letter home to parents asking students to bring in canned food to use in case of school intruders or shooters.

cans as weapons handout

Photo: W.F. Burns Middle School

Students are currently being trained under the ALICE program for active shooter situations, which is an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The canned goods are part of the “C” in “ALICE,” and are intended for students to throw at an active shooter as a last resort before evacuating the school.

Chambers County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelli Moore Hodge told WRBL,

“What ALICE promotes is that you have objects around the classroom that are available to you that you can readily throw. But that is the very last resort and the very smallest part of this entire training. This one very tiny piece got taken out of context of the whole big picture and I hope that people really go out and research ALICE and see what all is out there.”

This is the ALICE training video aimed at middle school children:

Hodge told WHNT that schools in 30 states are also utilizing ALICE principles, which fit new school safety guidelines issued by the Department of Education in 2013.

At the end of the school year, all leftover canned food will be donated to a local food pantry.

Parent response to the letter has been mixed, but mostly positive. One parent told Alabama’s 13 that she’s more worried that students will use the canned goods to harm other students.

A grandmother of a Burns student told Alabama’s 13,

“I’ve told her to aim for the face. You know, and be sure she has enough behind it to knock somebody out to give her the opportunity to put some space between herself and the intruder.” 

WHNT reports that Hodge says most negative responses have come from Facebook, from people who don’t have children in the Chambers County Schools district.

[via Alabama’s 13, WRBL, WHNT]