A Dallas school district has apologised after sending children home with a Winnie the Pooh themed book about school shootings.
The book, titled Stay Safe: Run, Hide, Fight, is meant to teach students how to stay safe during a gun attack. The cover reads “If there is danger, let Winnie the Pooh and his crew show you what to do.”
Passages also include: “If danger is near, do not fear. Hide like Pooh does until the police appear. Doors should be locked and the passage blocked. Turn off the light to stay out of sight.”
Dallas Independent School District said in a statement that it works “hard every day to prevent school shootings” by dealing with online threats and improving security measures. It also conducts active shooter drills.
“Recently a booklet was sent home so parents could discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases,” the district said. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents with any guide or context. We apologise for the confusion and are thankful to parents who reached out to assist us in being better partners.”
The school district did not say how many pupils received the book.
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, was among many who criticised the book, posting on Twitter: “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.”
The distribution of the book has also been called “tone deaf” as it was sent home around the time Texas was marking the anniversary of last year’s mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.
The book was published by Praetorian Consulting, a firm in Houston that provides “safety, security, and crisis management training and services.”
With active shooter drills becoming more common in the US in recent years, the company says on its website that it uses age-appropriate material to teach the concepts of “run, hide, fight.”
The characters of A. A. Milne’s 1926 classic are free to use legally without repercussions. US copyright law means that works of authors are available to use either 70 years after the author’s death or 95 years after publication.
If you liked this post then read Queen Charlotte: Why do the two sides not mix, ever? or Think piece: Is discrimination necessary in works of fiction? next.
Sophie is a trainee journalist at The University of Sheffield who specialises in feature writing. She has a keen passion for books and would love to work in the publishing industry in the future. She’s particularly passionate about how our ever-changing planet is represented in the books we read.
Favourite genres: Thrillers and Contemporary Fiction.