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Winnie-the-Pooh advises Texas students on active shooter situations

May 26, 2023

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Parents and teachers in the Dallas, Texas, area are expressing their concern after schoolchildren as young as 4 years old were given Winnie-the-Pooh cartoon books advising them on what to do should an active shooter situation occur on their campus. Known as the “Stay Safe” book, it was sent home with children in pre-K and elementary classes, bearing a subtitle that reads: “If there is danger, let Winnie-the-Pooh and his crew show you what to do: run hide fight.”

“Recently a booklet was sent home so parents could discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases,” a spokesperson for the Dallas Independent School District said. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents any guide or context. We apologize for the confusion and are thankful to parents who reached out to assist us in being better partners.”

According to the FBI’s safety resources, the bureau recommends utilizing run-hide-fight tactics in the event of an active shooter incident, saying that doing so will “prepare and empower” individuals to survive such a situation.

Winnie-the-Pooh along with other characters from the Hundred Acre Wood are featured in the “Stay Safe” book advising children on survival strategies during a school shooting. This includes a page telling kids: “If danger is near, do not fear, hide like Pooh does until the police appear.”

It also recommends in other passages that children “run like Rabbit” if it is safe to do so, or “fight with all your might” if confronted by a gunman, accompanied with pictures of Kanga and Roo donning boxing gloves.

The book was produced by a law enforcement consulting firm in Houston and has no affiliation with any of Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh media, as the A.A. Milne character became public domain in 2022.

Within the book’s pages is an indicator that it “was created in collaboration with active police officers and classroom teachers” to “teach and reinforce concepts of the run, hide, fight format, recommended by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security” in an “age-appropriate format.”

One local teacher called the book “terribly disturbing,” while Cindy Campos, a mother with children in the district says she’s afraid this literature indicates school shootings are being accepted as a part of life and “normalized.”

“It’s kind of like a slap in the face,” Campos said. “‘Hey! It’s normal now. Have a book about it.’”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom also joined in the criticism, writing in a tweet that “Winnie the Pooh is now teaching Texas kids about active shooters because the elected officials do not have the courage to keep our kids safe and pass common sense gun safety laws.”

Meanwhile the book’s distribution in Texas comes during the same week in which the state marked the one-year anniversary of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

Texas has been home to five of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the country over the past eight years, and as one of the states with the fewest gun restrictions in the nation, it was assigned a Gifford Law Center gun legislation scorecard grade of an “F.”

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