Winnie the Pooh ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ Book Draws Parents’ Ire
A Dallas school district has drawn backlash from parents after giving elementary school students a Winnie the Pooh-themed book that teaches children how to “run, hide, fight” in dangerous situations such as mass shootings.
Cindy Campos, whose two children attend an elementary school in the Dallas Independent School District, said she wasn’t sure what to do when her youngest son, who is in kindergarten, returned to home from school last week with the book, titled “Stay Safe.”
The book, Ms Campos said, had been slipped into her son’s backpack without any notes or instructions.
“If danger is near, don’t panic,” the book says. “Hide like Pooh until the police show up.”
At first Ms. Campos said she wondered if it was a gift from her son’s teacher. But later that evening, she found the same book in the backpack of her oldest son, a first-grader. That’s when she said she began to wonder if the book was an initiative by the school district.
“The book was not something I wanted,” said Ms. Campos. “It’s unsolicited advice.”
Other parents also complained, wondering why the book was given without instructions and calling the distribution “dull” since it was distributed so close to the anniversary of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teacher. killed.
The book’s release also came about a week after a gunman shot and killed eight people, including three children, at an outdoor mall on May 6 in Allen, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas.
“After you read them a book, they have about 50 questions,” said Ms. Campos. “How can you go to bed letting them know, ‘Yeah, this is what you do if you get shot at school,’ and then let them sleep?”
“This is a nightmare waiting to happen,” she said.
The book also caught the attention of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who tweeted Tuesday that “Winnie the Pooh is now teaching Texas kids about active shooters because elected officials don’t have the guts to keep our kids safe and pass common. sensitive gun safety laws.”
In a statement Friday, the school district said the book was sent home “so that parents can discuss with their children how to stay safe” in dangerous situations at schools, such as the shooting. However, the district acknowledged that it should have provided parents with guidance about the book.
“We work every day to prevent school shootings by confronting online threats and strengthening our schools,” the district said in an email. “Recently a leaflet was sent home for parents to discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases. Unfortunately, we didn’t give parents any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and are grateful to parents for helping us be better partners.”
The district did not disclose how many books were distributed or which schools and classrooms received them.
The Texas Education Agency, which oversees schools across the state, said Friday the book was not part of an agency-wide initiative and referred questions about the book to the Dallas school district.
Ms. Campos said the book was not addressed by the school’s principal or her teachers. The school’s principal did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The book is published by Pretorian Consulting, a Houston-based firm that provides training and services in security, safety and crisis management. She did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The book, which was written by Ken Adcox, the owner of Pretorian, and Brittany Adcox-Flores, does not explicitly mention guns. Instead, he refers to threats as “danger” and “something that is not right.”
Mr. Adcox did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, and Ms. Adcox-Flores could not immediately be reached.
The Stay Safe book was created by Texas police officers and teachers to teach elementary school students how to “stay safe and protect themselves if a dangerous incident occurs at school,” Pretorian said on the website. its internet.
The company said the material, which features “familiar and beloved Winnie the Pooh characters,” teaches the “run, hide, fight” response recommended in an active shooter situation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. National.
Winnie the Pooh, which was originally published in 1926, entered the public domain last year, allowing adaptations of its characters.
“It is our belief,” Pretorian said, “that as with other school safety strategies such as fire drills, pedestrian safety and stranger danger, the concepts of Run, Hide, Fight should be regularly discussed with students of all ages.”
The National Association of School Psychologists recommends that parents and teachers who talk to elementary school children about violence should provide “brief and simple information that should be balanced with reassurance that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them”. with instructions from the organization.
Parents and teachers should remind young children of examples of safety, such as locked doors, the organization said in guidance on its website. The National Association of School Psychologists did not respond to a request for comment about the Winnie the Pooh book.
Ms. Campos said the school district’s distribution of the book felt like an attempt to “normalize” a wave of gun violence across the country.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Ms. Campos said of talking to her children about gun violence. “We don’t have to talk to them about it, and it’s so hard as a parent.”
Eventually, Ms. Campos said, she relented and read the book to her youngest son, who is 5 years old.
“There was no way he was going to let me read it,” Ms. Campos said, adding that her son was interested in Winnie the Pooh.
“I’m finishing the book crying, and he says, ‘Why are you crying?’