- The Dallas Independent School District has apologized for sending grade schoolers home with Winnie the Pooh-themed books on proper behavior during active shooter situations and failing to issue any guidance or warning to parents in the past.
- The book, “Stay Safe,” lays out the “run, hide, fight” survival plan in a way the publisher deems appropriate for children.
- “Recently a booklet was sent home for parents to talk to their children about how to stay safe in such cases,” the school district said of the controversy. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents with any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and thank parents for helping us be better partners.”
Cindy Campos’ 5-year-old son was so excited about the Winnie the Pooh book he got at school that he asked her to read it with him when he got home. But her heart sank when she realized it was an instruction on what to do when “danger is imminent,” advising children to lock the doors, turn off the lights and hide quietly.
While they were reading the “Stay Safe” book that was sent home from school without any explanation or warning from the parents, she started crying, leaving her son confused.
“It’s hard because you’re reading them a bedtime story and basically you have to explain in this cute way what the book is, otherwise it’s not cute at all,” Campos said.
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She said her first-grader, who attends the same elementary school as her pre-K son, also received a copy of the book last week. After posting about it in an online neighborhood group, she found other concerned parents whose children had also brought the book home.
The district’s decision to send kids home with a book made waves. California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, tweeted: “Winnie the Pooh is now teaching Texas kids about active shooters because elected officials don’t have the guts to protect our kids be safe and pass common sense gun safety laws.”
It sparked enough of a reaction to warrant an explanation from the Dallas Independent School District, which said in a statement Friday that it works “every day to prevent school shootings” by addressing threats. online and improving security measures. It also conducts active shooter drills.
“Recently a booklet was sent home so that parents can discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases,” the district said. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents with any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and thank parents for helping us become better partners.”
The district did not say how many schools and grades in the district received the books.
Campos said the book “haunts” him and that it seems especially “tone deaf” to bring it home with children without explanation at a time when the state marks the anniversary of last year’s mass shooting in a elementary school in Uvalde, when a gunman. 19 children and two teachers were killed. It also comes as the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature wraps up a session in which it rejected nearly all proposals to tighten gun laws but passed legislation banning school libraries from stocking the books. that contain descriptions, illustrations or audio depicting sexual behavior that is unrelated to the requirement. school curriculum.
Active shooter drills have become commonplace in American schools, though there is disagreement as to whether they do more harm than good.
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Campos said that although he did not agree with the intention of the book, he hoped that it would have a warning to parents so that he could introduce it to his children at the right time and in the right way. He said he discussed the school shooting with his children, and that he might have chosen to wait to read them the book until there was another attack.
“I would have done it on my own time,” said Campos, who first spoke to the Oak Cliff Advocate.
The book’s cover says: “When danger strikes, let Winnie the Pooh and his crew show you what to do.” Inside, it includes passages like “When danger is near, don’t be afraid. Hide like Pooh did until the police come.
The book was published by Praetorian Consulting, a Houston-based company that provides safety, security and crisis management training and services. The company, which did not respond to messages seeking comment, said on its website that it uses age-appropriate material to teach the concepts of “run, hide, fight” — the approach that those say authority that civilians must do in active shooter situations.
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The company also says on its website that its K-6 curriculum features Winnie the Pooh characters, which are now in the public domain and even featured in a recent horror movie.