Texas slammed over Winnie the Pooh story to teach children about mass shootings on anniversary of Uvalde massacre

The book was written by a former Texas police chief

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 01 June 2023 19:27 BST
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Related video: Uvalde school shooting: Officers cry and feel sick after discovering victims

California Governor Gavin Newsom slammed a dystopian new book reportedly distributed by some Texas schools using Winnie the Pooh to teach children how to survive a mass shooting.

News of the book comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 21 people — including 19 children — were killed.

Parents of some Texas students found their children with a book titled "Stay Safe" that features Winnie the Pooh and other characters from the Thousand Acre Woods teaching children to "run, hide, fight" — the advice given by US officials for surviving an active shooter event.

Mr Newsom crticised the book as a pitiful alternative to gun control for protecting children from gun violence.

"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," he wrote.

He included a photo of the book showing a page in which characters Kanga, Roo, and Piglet are wearing boxing gloves and discussing the need to fight if a child can't escape danger.

The book can use the Winnie the Pooh characters because the characters from the original 1926 book became public domain in the United States in 2022.

The Independent has reached out to the Dallas ISD for comment.

The book can use the Winnie the Pooh characters because those characters became public domain in 2022.

Pages in the back of the book say it was "created in collaboration with active police officers and classroom teachers," with the intent to "teach and reinforce concepts of the run, hide, fight format, recommended by the FBI an Department of Homeland Security" using an "age appropriate format," according to the Oak Cliff Advocate.

Former El Paso Police Chief Ken Adcox and Brittany Adcox-Flores — who is a teacher, according to the book's front cover — are listed as the book's author and illustrator, respectively.

The Independent has reached out to them for comment.

Other advice in the book includes the lines, "If there is danger, let Winnie-the-Pooh and his crew show you what to do" ... “we should run like Rabbit” … “hide like pooh until police appear” … “hide without making a sound in a place we cannot be found” … “if we have cell phones, turn off all the tones.”

While the advice found in the book is in line with the current advice given by US officials, it has left some parents feeling uneasy about having discussions about mass shootings with their children.

Cindy Campos, whose son Bowie is a preschooler at Stemmons Elementary School in Texas, said she read the son with her book.

“Bowie asked so many questions before going to bed. And as a mom you have to figure out the correct but realistic way to say things,” she told the Oak Cliff Advocate.

She posted about the book in a parents’ group on Facebook and learned that other local parents also found their children with the book.

Commenters on social media had a mix of reactions; some complained that Mr Newsom should take care of his own state before complaining about Texas. Others lamented the state of the world that such a book would even be necessary or echoed Mr Newsom's complaint that the focus should be on gun control rather than advising students to fight off armed attackers.

"Yeah teaching children how to fight back against the weapons of war is the logical answer for the @GOP instead of limiting the weapons of war to their petty greedy wars," one user wrote.

Another user noted that they had a "lot of emotions and thoughts about this for just one tweet .... this should not be our reality."

A third made clear they believed that guns were the problem.

"My oldest loves Winnie the Pooh," she wrote. "I would love more for her to not ever have to read it in this context. #ItsTheGuns."

This story was updated on June 1 to clarify that the characters in the original 1926 Winne the Pooh story are in the public domain in the US.

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