A firearm safety course will become a mandatory part of the curriculum for all students in two rural school districts starting this year. Both 7th and 8th graders will participate in the lessons, which are being added to the standard students’ PE requirement. High school students will also be able to take part, though their participation is voluntary.
The Clarksville and North Butler, Iowa, school districts are both implementing the new gun safety course curriculum, according to a report by Rare. The mandatory hunter safety course will be led by the Butler County Conservation Board.
Joel Foster, the superintendent for both school districts, hopes that the course will help prepare students to react appropriately during active shooter events and that it will help curb unwanted gun violence and accidents.
“If my 12-year-old girl is out babysitting a 3-year-old and the 3-year-old walks out of mom and dad’s bedroom with a handgun or a shotgun, she needs to know how to handle that,” said Foster.
During the class, students will be instructed in proper gun handling, though the firearms used with be inoperable and only replica ammunition will be used.
Students will learn how to load and unload the gun, how to recognize if a firearm is loaded, and how to properly hold a gun. Firearm care and safe carrying are also part of the curriculum.
Foster said that the course should teach students how to “use weapons responsibly, how to respect them, understand it’s not a video game and those sort of things, that maybe we’ll cut down on our chances of having a severe incident.”
School officials believe that the curriculum will help students understand that guns are not toys.
The course is anticipated to take a week, allowing the students to complete the 10-hour hunter education class.
Parents do have the ability to opt their children out. However, Foster indicates that there has been no negative feedback from parents.