VALLEY, Ala. — An Alabama middle school principal wants to stockpile cans of corn and peas in classrooms for students to hurl at possible intruders as a last resort defense.

In a letter Friday, W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Priscella Holley asked parents to have each student bring an 8-ounce canned item.

“We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off guard,” she wrote in the letter, published by TV station WHNT in Huntsville.

“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” Holley wrote. “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 school is in Valley, Alabama, part of the Chambers County school system.

Chambers County Schools Superintendent Kelli Hodge told The Associated Press on Tuesday that school staff had been working with Auburn University’s Department of Public Safety on training to respond to such emergencies.

However, Chance Corbett, Auburn’s associate director of public safety, said he had actually referred the school to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for active shooter training after learning Monday that school officials wanted the training.

The food cans would be stored in classrooms, Hodge told the AP.