Opting Kids Out of Gun Safety Training

There are a lot of stories in the media about dumb things and even dumber people. I usually ignore them. But every once in a while, a story pops up that I feel I have to comment on. This is one of those stories.

Perhaps you heard about this one: A Florida mom is livid after her 7-year-old son was taught a potentially life-saving lesson at school. That’s right. This young boy and his classmates were introduced to NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, a gun safety and accident-prevention program that is responsible for educating more than 29 million children on what to do if they ever come across a gun. You may have heard Eddie Eagle’s helpful, advice before. You may even be able to sing the catchy phrase. It goes something like this: “STOP!, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult.”

While I can respect the fact that the topic of firearms may be a sensitive issue, it’s certainly not an issue to be ignored. We all know that training and safety are vital to the health and wellbeing of our children. And as I always say, it’s about education, not isolation. We are never going to be able to benefit or protect our children by avoiding the topic of gun safety. But according to the news outlets covering this incident, “The outspoken mother said regardless of the message, because it came from the NRA, it’s ‘propaganda.’” The mother (who has chosen to remain anonymous, by the way) also commented, “They’ve just undone seven years of parenting in one hour.”

I’m curious to know what that seven years of parenting actually included.

Representatives from the child’s school apologized, but they also stood by their decision to use the Eddie Eagle program to educate students about this all-too important topic. A statement from the school system’s spokesperson read: “The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program was chosen because its message is packaged in an engaging and easily-relatable presentation that resonates with students. This is key because the safety of our students is one of our highest priorities. The program does not contain any messaging about gun ownership, use of firearms, endorsements, or political perspectives. Please note this is a voluntary presentation and parents may choose to opt their child out of participating. ‎Too many children grow up not being exposed to gun safety.”

Opt out … of safety training.

Okay. Well, let’s just consider fire safety and training, then. Perhaps we should stop teaching “stop, drop, and roll” … because fires are dangerous and scary. What if instead of using fire drills, teaching tactics for escape and explaining the dangers of fire and smoke inhalation, students in school were only taught, “Fires are bad”?

It’s just unreal, isn’t it? Apparently this mother would prefer that her child be completely clueless if a gun is around rather than be warned, trained, informed and prepared. I hate to tell her this, but repeatedly telling her son, “All guns are bad” is NOT effective safety training or accident prevention.

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