Cindy Campos’ 5-year-old son was so excited about the Winnie the Pooh book he received at school that he asked her to read it with him as soon as he got home.
But her heart sank when she realized it was a tutorial on what to do when “danger is near,” advising children to lock doors, turn off lights, and hide quietly.
As they read the Stay Safe book, Campos began to cry, leaving her son confused. His school in the United States had sent the text home with the students without explanation or notice to the parents.
“It’s hard because you’re reading them a bedtime story and basically now you have to explain in this cute way what the book is about, when it’s not exactly cute,” Campos said.
She said her first-grader son, who attends the same Dallas, Texas, elementary school as her pre-K son, also received a copy of the book last week. After posting it to an online neighborhood group, she found other concerned parents whose children had also brought the book home.
The district’s decision to send children home with the book has made waves. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted: “Winnie the Pooh is now teaching Texas kids about active shooters because elected officials don’t have the courage to keep our kids safe and pass gun safety laws from common sense”.
It provoked 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 dealing with online threats and improving security measures. He also conducts active shooter drills.
“Recently, a flyer was sent home so that parents could talk to their children about how to stay safe in such cases,” the district said. “Unfortunately, we don’t provide parents with any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and thank the parents who reached out to help us be better partners.”
The district did not say how many schools and grades in the district received the books.
Campos said the book was “disturbing” and that it seemed especially “deaf” to send it home at a time when the state commemorated the anniversary of last year’s mass shooting in Uvalde, when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in A primary school. school.
It also comes as the Republican-controlled Texas legislature concludes a session in which it rejected virtually all proposals to toughen gun laws. But it did pass legislation that prohibited school libraries from having books that contain descriptions, illustrations or audio depicting sexual conduct that is not relevant to the required school curriculum.
Active shooter drills have become commonplace in American schools, though there is disagreement over whether they do more harm than good.
Campos said that while he doesn’t disagree with the intent of the book, he wished it had come with a warning to parents so they could introduce it to their children at the right time and in the right way. She said that she has discussed school shootings with her children and that she could have chosen to wait to read the book to them until there was another attack.
“I would have done it in my own time,” said Campos, who first spoke to the Oak Cliff Advocate.
The book cover reads: “If there’s danger, let Winnie the Pooh and his team show you what to do.” Inside, it includes passages such as: “If danger is near, do not fear. Hide like Pooh does until the police show up. The doors must be closed and the passage blocked. Turn off the light to stay out of sight.”
The book was published by Praetorian Consulting, a Houston-based company that provides security and crisis management training and services.
The company, which did not respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment, says on its website that it uses age-appropriate material to teach the concepts of “run, hide, fight,” the approach that authorities say civilians must actively take. shooter situations.
The company also says on its website that its K-6 curriculum features Winnie the Pooh characters, who are now in the public domain and even appear in a recent horror movie.
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