Jan 132015
Can food lessons

Can food lessons. Photo by Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

An Alabama middle school principal wants each child to bring in an 8-ounce canned food item to use as a weapon in case of a dangerous intruder. The children would be instructed to throw a can at the intruder to render or even stop an attack on the students. Principal Priscella Holley informed the parents via a letter which was published by a CBS affiliate in Huntsville.

Arm children with can food and books


I have to admit, I love the originality of the principal’s ‘canned food item’ attack against an armed intruder. On the other hand, I believe it’s hilarious!

I honestly commend the principal for her problem-solving attempt to have elementary students bring in a can of non-perishable items for use as a weapon. There is just one set-back; it won’t work.

There are numerous glitches that pop out at me that convince me this idea is better left on the shelf.

1.       Must know it’s an intruder, not a friendly helper

2.       Teacher must take time to have the children form a line so a child will not be in the ‘line of fire’

3.       Children prone to violence will have a tendency to harm other children with can food item

4.       Passive children will not feel comfortable intentionally inflicting harm on someone

5.       Stress of being taught to throw a can at someone for protection may be overwhelming

6.       Empowering students by way of violence, teaches violence

In my opinion, there would be more unintentional consequences from the availability of food cans than the self-defense opportunity.

The can food attack would have to be carefully orchestrated for its implementation to be effective. That means, not only would the students have to be absolutely certain they are targeting the intruder and not some innocent person coming in to help, but the teacher would have to instruct them to form a line so as no other student is in the direct line of fire, so to speak.

The food cans would have to be accessible on a short notice, thereby giving a disgruntled, angry child the opportunity to harm another child. Let’s say a child is mad at another child (it happens) and that child reaches for the accessible can and launches it at the other child. This is what that child was taught! Someone is getting hurt and it’s not an intruder.

In addition, children should not have to worry about protecting themselves in any learning environment. This is a responsibility of adults in charge of the students. The stress of having to be ‘on guard’ against an intruder would interfere with the learning abilities of the children.

Why not just build a bullet proof bunker with a latch door on the floor in a corner of the classroom? This idea would not only serve the purpose of protecting students from intruders, but also be a safe haven in inclement weather. It could even be used as a nuclear fallout shelter!

Yes, a bunker would be more expensive than purchasing can food items to be later given to the less fortunate but it would be better than enforcing children to become violent, not to mention instilling terror in them in a learning environment.

Or maybe just make it hard for a dangerous intruder to walk through the front door in the first place?