Starting next year, two Iowa school districts will be enrolling their seventh and eight-grade students into a mandatory hunter safety course, which will include gun training and handling.
As BizPac Review reports, Superintendent Joel Foster of both Clarksville Community School District and North Butler Community Schools said, “It’s not just about kids that are going to be hunters. It’s about all kids learning how to handle a firearm in a safe manner.”
“Any time that a kid might be exposed to a firearm they need to make sure they know how to handle it and make sure it’s safe,” the superintendent added.
“We know not all kids are going to hunt,” he also said, per The Des Moines Register. “This is an alternative to sitting on your hands and not doing anything. It’s being proactive to handle things the best manner as possible if something occurs. Through education, kids know guns aren’t toys.”
According to Foster, a local school board member broached the idea during a discussion about school safety. While it’s unclear when exactly the discussion occurred, it likely happened after the tragic mass shooting at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School last February.
“We’ve done everything to make (the school) as safe as possible at school with cameras, locks,” Foster added in a statement to The Des Moines Register. “We would like them to be able to deal with a situation that comes up.”
The goal is to prepare students to react to active shooter situations. Studies have confirmed that when it comes to guns safety, both education and experience count for everything.
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Students will learn how to load and reload the “inoperable guns with replica ammunition” so that students have a hands-on learning experience.
“During the course, students will use inoperable guns with replica ammunition,” The Des Moines Register reports. “They will learn how to load and unload ammunition and hold and care for firearms. … They’ll also learn how to safely carry a gun and how to recognize when a firearm is loaded.”
The class, although included in the school’s curriculum, can be opted out of by parents.
Iowa Firearms Coalition Communications Director Derek Drayer said he appreciates the school district’s interest in promoting gun knowledge and safety.
“I hope politics stay out of it,” Drayer said. “Even if you’re never going to own a gun, some exposure to that safety aspect is a good thing. While there is a lot of disagreement on gun policy, everyone agrees we want safety.”
Some other schools may glean from the safety course and its effects on students as several people online are asking where else the courses should be taught: