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Jan 14 2015

WW: Peas and Corn

Category: School Security,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 9:30 am Comments (26)

Parents of middle schoolers at the W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Alabama, received the letter below asking them to send a canned food item to school for use as part of their school security plan.  I’m going to keep Wordless on this one, so I can hear the opinions of all y’all.

Alabama Burns Middle School Letter

The responses on Facebook to the story from ABC 33/40 are varied:

Peas and Corn 2 Peas and Corn 1 Peas and Corn 5 Peas and Corn 4 Peas and Corn 6 Peas and Corn 3

What do you think??

Follow-Up:  Several of the Facebook comments mentioned arming teachers and staff (with guns, not cans) as a school security tactic.  I thought this re-enactment of the Charlie Hebdo incident with one of the employees being armed was interesting.  I don’t really want go down most of the rabbit holes this discussion could lead to, but the experiment makes me wonder about the effectiveness of arming teachers so I figured I’d share the link.

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26 Responses to “WW: Peas and Corn”

  1. Gary Huizen says:

    A entire new industry, can holders on desks to prevent accidental cannings.

  2. Ian Greene says:

    I’ll keep silent on the practicality of this one as well BUT will say that this could help local food pantries if each child turned in their “self defense cans” each quarter and those cans of food donated to a local food bank.
    Turning lemons, or in this case, beans, into lemonade.

    Certainly an outside of the box idea.

    • Lori says:

      Their plan is to donate the cans of food if they are not used to battle an intruder. As a parent, I think one of the issues with the overall plan is that many kids may bring a can the first time it is requested, but each time the cans are donated and must be replenished, there will be less kids who show up with their can. Even if I wanted my kid to attack an intruder while armed with a can of baked beans, I don’t think it’s sustainable.

  3. Lach says:

    In my personal opinion it is not better than nothing. It would cause a false sense of security to the kids. Possibly giving them ideas of grandeur and getting them killed. I read some of the comments on it could stun or knock them out. I believe that to be an extremely slim chance of that ever happening. An 8oz can cannot do all that much real damage especially to someone on an adrenaline high and even more so if it was thrown by children. I believe if something were to happen in this school (or any of the other schools they claim are doing it) it would cause additional casualties. I say put a taser in each room in an emergency “break glass in emergency” box (similar to a fire extinguisher box) and train each teacher how to use them. That way they could lock their rooms and stun any unauthorized person from entering without being lethal or taking additional risks.

  4. Cda says:

    Let’s see you can throw cans of food…

    But not throw dodge balls…

    Or point your finger at someone…

    Anyway, at least someone benefits at the end of the year.

  5. Eric says:

    This is one of the few times I’m truly speechless. I have no response to this, not even a smarta** comment.

  6. Eric says:

    Yes it is! Please make a note of it. ; )

  7. Cda says:

    I wonder if they are going to send the guy in with the protective suit and let the students do a can drill?

  8. Chuck says:

    Just when I thought I had heard every cockamamie strategy, this pops up!
    Why not arm the kids with spitballs, pea shooters, and slingshots as well?

  9. Johnny B says:

    Canned foods will now have to be kept under lock and key in grocery stores. Who knew?

  10. Jodie Meyers says:

    And here I thought a can of corn was a baseball term for a high fly ball!

  11. Lisa Goodwin Robbins says:

    This is like a sick joke.

  12. Jon says:


    Judging from the responses so far I guess this makes me the odd man out. Never the less to answer your question “Have you had any experience with ALICE training?” the answer is yes. I’ve been thru three ALICE training sessions. One focused on the overall theory. Another focused on emergency medical response. The last was an assault simulation concentrating on counter measures and evacuation (the C and E in the ALICE training).

    It’s unfortunate that too often the more debatable elements of the program make headlines.

    For the record in every session I was in the evacuation “E” material was introduced before the counter measure “C” material. In every instance the trainers made it clear the “E” option was preferable to the “C” option. In fact the “C” option wasn’t presented as option at all. It was portrayed as once the bad guy is in the room and clearly not interested in having a discussion, what are you going to do?

    • Lori says:

      Thanks Jon. I don’t think anyone is poo-pooing the ALICE training in general, but the request to send middle-schoolers with canned goods doesn’t seem like it has a lot of merit. I agree that this is the kind of stuff that gets a lot of attention and I think it’s unfortunate that the positive elements of the training may be overlooked because of it.

  13. Thomas Norman, CPP/PSP/CSC says:

    Interesting idea, however I think that some basic training in the use of cans is indicated. Here then are the four rules of can projectile safety:
    1 – All cans are always loaded.
    2 – Never point your can at someone/something that you do not want to kill.
    3 – Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
    4 – Keep your fingers off your can until you are ready to kill someone.

    Without can safety training, how long do you think it will be before schools institute a “zero can tolerance” policy; and children will be punished for bringing unauthorized cans to school?

    • lach says:

      And be sure that if you do decide to carry your can (concealed or not) to be aware of your surroundings. You never know when someone may need it. Or someone could try to take your can. You are a responsible can holder now. Respect the can.

  14. Scott says:

    I know several bikers who carry cans of beans and use them if other drivers get into their space. But staff and students will react a little bit different when they see/hear someone coming at them with a gun. Put a can in you coat pocket or purse and carry it around for awhile.

  15. Ronald Betschman says:

    Obviously this strategy will not work in school with a “No Bullying” policy in place. 🙂

  16. Rick Page says:

    Well meaning PC solutions like this are good for getting innocents hurt or killed.

  17. Beth says:

    I like the idea. I like that, first off, it opens a door for parents to enter into the discussion on security at the schools. I also like that it’s SOMETHING that our children can use as a last-ditch, “the school didn’t get it right and its this or nothing” option.

    Would I like it if those cans were never put in use? Yeah. Do I trust that my child’s school has all the preventive measures in place to stop a gunman from getting into the school? Given that the main entry is a 20′ line of aluminum storefront windows/doors….no. Do I trust that if he got into the hallway, that the school’s lockdown procedure would stop him from getting into a classroom? Hmm…my daughter’s classroom is the first one in the hall. The teacher has the classic “rope loop to keep the door open”. My only hope is that the doorknob is kept locked, so that they can just close the door and it’s secure.

    They do have the laughable “video intercom system”, you have to ring the bell and then wait (and wait. And wait) for someone in the office to remotely unlock the door. Then they just blindly trust that you’ll go straight to the office or nurse’s office. Who then let your child walk unescorted to their classroom, because parents can’t go with them. And last year my kindergartner made it all the way to the back of the school, and when her classroom was empty, made it all the way back to front of the school without a single person seeing her. If no adult saw her, no adult would see an “intruder” either.

    Great. Now I’m going to have to set up a meeting with the school, aren’t I?

    • Lori says:

      I agree that parents need to get involved in the conversation, and maybe the cans will bring some attention to that. My daughter’s middle school just moved to a new campus with more than one building. After her first day of school I asked how the kids moved between buildings – were there teachers carrying keys? Was the front door locked? I had already checked that the classroom doors have locks.

      Our elementary school didn’t even have classroom doors until a year ago. It is an “open plan” school and during drills the kids were crouched behind an overturned table. The school administrators probably think I’m a little crazy, but I can’t just ignore it and hope for the best. I don’t want to turn our schools into fortresses, but there are minimum security measures that each school should meet. And if they don’t, I think we could see schools being held liable.

      So yes…time to talk to your school. 🙂
      – Lori

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