• The Dallas Independent School District has apologized for sending students home with Winnie the Pooh-themed books about proper behavior during an active shooter and for failing to provide any guidance or warning to parents beforehand.
  • The Stay Safe book lays out the run, hide, fight safety plan in a way the publisher believes is appropriate for young children.
  • “A booklet was recently sent home for parents to discuss with their children about how to stay safe in these situations,” the school district said of the controversy. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents with any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and thank the parents who reached out to us to help us be better partners.”

Cindy Campos’ 5-year-old son was so excited about the Winnie the Pooh book he got 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 the doors, turn off the lights and quietly hide.

As they read the Stay Safe book, which the school sent home without explanation or warning to parents, she began to cry, leaving her son confused.

“It’s hard because you’re reading them a bedtime story and now you have to explain in such a cute way what the book is about when it’s not exactly cute,” Campos said.


She said her first-grader, who goes to the same elementary school as her son, also received a copy of the book last week. After reporting 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 a book caused a stir. The governor of California, a Democrat, Gavin Newsomtweeted: “Winnie the Pooh is now teaching Texas kids to active shooter because elected officials lack the guts to keep our kids safe and pass common sense gun safety laws.”

It sparked enough of a backlash to warrant an explanation from the Dallas Independent School District, which said in a statement Friday that it “works diligently every day to prevent school shootings” by combating online threats and improving security measures. Active shooting exercises are also held here.

“Recently, a booklet was sent to the home so that parents could discuss with their children how to protect themselves in such cases,” the district noted. “Unfortunately, we did not provide parents with any guidance or context. We apologize for the confusion and thank the parents who reached out to us to help us be better partners.”

The Dallas Independent School District has apologized for sending elementary students home with a Winnie-the-Pooh-themed book, “Be Safe,” that talks about active shooter lockdowns, without warning or parental consent. (Cindy Campos via AP)

The district does not say how many schools and classes in the district received books.

Campos said the book “haunted” her and that it seemed particularly “tone-deaf” to send her home with her children without explanation around the time the state marked the anniversary of last year’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, in which a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. It also comes as Texas’ Legislature controlled by Republicans ends a session in which he has rejected virtually every proposal to toughen gun laws, but passed legislation that would ban school libraries from having books that contain descriptions, illustrations or audio that depict sexual behavior outside of the required school curriculum.

Active shooter drills have become commonplace in American schools, although there is disagreement about whether they do more harm than good.


Campos said that while she’s not opposed to the book’s intent, she wanted parents to be warned about it so she could introduce it to her children at the right time and in the right way. She said she discussed the school shooting with her children and may have decided to wait to read the book to them until after another attack.

“I would have done it in my own time,” said Campos, who first spoke to the Oak Cliff attorney.

The book’s cover reads, “When there’s danger, let Winnie the Pooh and his crew show you what to do.” Inside, it includes passages such as “When danger is near, fear not. Hide like Pooh does until the police show up. The door must be closed and the passage blocked. Turn off the lights to stay out of sight.’

The book is published by Praetorian Consulting, a Houston based company which provides safety, security and training and crisis management services. The company, which did not respond to messages seeking comment, says on its website that it uses age-appropriate materials to teach the concepts of “run, hide, fight” — an approach that authorities say civilians should follow in situations active shooting.


The company also says on its website that its K-6 curriculum features Winnie the Pooh characters, now in the public domain and even featured in a recent horror film.

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