Students at a middle school in Valley, Alabama are holding a canned food drive to help save lives -- their own.

As part of its active shooter preparedness efforts, W.F. Burns Middle School is asking "each student to bring an 8 oz. canned food item (corn, beans, peas, etc.) to use in case an intruder enters their classroom."

The school recently informed its students' parents of the plan in a letter. 

"We realize at first this may seem odd," the letter reads, "however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard. The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him until the police arrive."

School officials have come under facetious Facebook fire for, in the language of the letter "arming our students with a canned food item", but it's heat Chambers County School Superintendent Kelli Moore Hodge says she's willing to take. 

"Their (W.F. Burns Middle School students) safety and security is the number one thing we are looking at here," Hodge told WBRL. "We are trying to give them options instead of making them sitting ducks," Hodge says. 

Hodge says the shelf-stable arsenal is just one element of the ALICE (Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evaluate) active shooter response training already employed by several other schools and universities across the country, including nearby Auburn University, which is helping the Chambers County School District train in ALICE techniques. 

An ALICE demonstration video produced by Auburn in 2013 shows students using backpacks and text books to repel a would-be shooter.

Hodge contends hurling cans of carrots and corn would have the same effect. 

"The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters their classroom," the letter sent to W.F. Burns Middle School parents reads.  

"We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared. At the end of the school year, the cans will be donated to The Food Closet." 

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