US

A Dallas school district has apologised after distributing a Winnie The Pooh-themed book about school shootings.

The book is titled Stay Safe: Run, Hide, Fight and its cover says: “If there is danger, let Winnie the Pooh and his crew 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 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 it works “hard every day to prevent school shootings” by dealing with online threats and improving security measures.

“Recently a booklet was sent home so parents could discuss with their children how to stay safe in such cases,” the statement read.

“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 those 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.”

‘It’s not exactly cute’

Cindy Campos, whose five-year-old son was sent home with the book, said she cried when she read it.

“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,” she said.

Ms Campos said it seemed especially “tone deaf” to send it 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 Houston-based firm that provides safety, security, and crisis management training and services.

The company says on its website that it uses age-appropriate material to teach the concepts of “run, hide, fight” – the approach US authorities say civilians should take in active shooter situations.

Read more: America’s 10 most deadly mass shootings of 2023

Active shooter drills have become common in American schools in recent years.

While many associate the characters of Winnie The Pooh with Disney, they are free to use legally in the US with no repercussions.

US copyright law means that works of authors are available to use by anyone either 70 years after the author’s death or 95 years after publication.

As well as the book, AA Milne’s characters have also been featured in a recent horror film titled Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey.

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