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Old 02-12-2007, 22:30   #1
StockGlock23
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Firearms safety course angers mother

Firearms safety course angers mother
Class has been taught in other county schools for about 20 years

By ANITA MUNSON
Tribune Staff Writer


PLYMOUTH -- A firearms safety class taught at Lincoln Junior High School for the first time this year has one local mother up in arms.

Aimee Falls thinks the class has no place in a public school curriculum, and she's angry that, as a parent, she was not given the opportunity to keep her daughter, Sasha Jarvis, 13, from attending it.

"This type of class should not have been forced upon all of the students," Falls said Jan. 29. "I talked to the principal and said, 'Maybe you should have notified the parents.' "

Falls said a relative was murdered at gunpoint, adding, "We are anti-guns. ... Guns are made to kill, nothing more.

"I was offended. ... I would have chosen for her (daughter Sasha) not to have had the class."

The class is not taught with actual firearms.

Falls said she has contacted local school officials, the Indiana Department of Education, the Department of Natural Resources and several area media outlets about her concerns.

Lincoln Principal John McNeil said Falls' request for parental notification is reasonable, but he defended the program's merits.

"I wish now that we'd done that," McNeil said Tuesday of getting parental permission for student participation. "Times are different today. ... It's a good suggestion ... a reasonable thing to do."

Program new to Plymouth

McNeil said the class, which is coordinated and taught by Indiana conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources, was added this year to the physical education program after the conservation officers brought it up with Brody Shively, a physical education teacher, and Steve Miller, who teaches industrial technology.

The class was available last year, during the homeroom period, the principal explained, saying that about 50 students enrolled, after officials thought 30 might be the largest number showing interest.

"It was quite popular," McNeil said, "and there was so much interest in it."

Indiana conservation officer Ken Dowdle, who coordinated the Lincoln program, said it is being taught in the county's other schools, including Argos and Culver.

"It's taught in all 50 states," said Dowdle, who has taught the firearms safety class each of his 11 years as a conservation officer.

"It's firearms safety in general," Dowdle explained. He said students are taught familiarization and safety, safe storage of firearms and ammunition, and how to properly use gun locks.

"We do not bring firearms into the classroom," Dowdle said.

Guns can be found anywhere

Dowdle said that at the beginning of the class, students are asked if they baby-sit.

"Most do," Dowdle said, saying instructors explain that the course will help students who may encounter firearms in the home of a child for whom they baby-sit.

Dowdle said a hunting manual, containing photographs of firearms, is used in the class, and that material within the manual does include information on conservation and preservation, as well as habitats and animal populations.

Falls objects to the manual, saying it is aimed at adults and shows "pictures of guns, bullets, and how to load them."

"But the school's primary focus was firearms safety," Dowdle said of the emphasis of the program taught throughout Marshall County to students in the 13- to 14-year-old range.

"The bottom line is that we really hit hard on the seriousness of your actions (with firearms)," Dowdle said in a phone interview from his home Tuesday. He said officers speak about the consequences of shootings and that prosecution does follow for the person doing the shooting.

"We don't teach a kid how to fire a gun. ... They don't even handle them," Dowdle said. "Even a 2-year-old knows how to shoot a gun. ... That's why there are accidents. ... We don't need to teach them that."

Dowdle said students are taught how to safely unload firearms and how the firearms should be kept locked, separate from any ammunition, which also should be in a locked container.

"Should they ever be around firearms -- and most of them are, you'd be surprised the number of kids who raised their hands to indicate there were guns in their homes -- they need to be knowledgeable about safety," Dowdle said.

Dowdle said the class takes away some of the mystery and/or glamour of firearms, reducing or sometimes eliminating a natural curiosity about firearms.

Class taught throughout Marshall County

Dowdle said the same class is being taught at Culver Community Middle School, Triton High School in Bourbon and within the John Glenn school system. It's taught every other year at the Argos schools, he said.

"It's the same material that's taught, but it's fit into different curriculums," Dowdle said.

For example, within the Bremen Community Schools system, the hunter's safety course has been offered in a natural resources class, school officials said Wednesday. The natural resources class, when taught, is part of an agriculture program.

Brad Schuldt, superintendent at Culver Community Schools, said the firearms safety class is part of a two-week unit that also includes boating and water safety every year.

Taught at the middle school in Culver, the course is "not just hunter safety," Schuldt said. Students can, however, receive state certification upon successful completion of the class, Dowdle said. The certification allows them to purchase a hunting license.

Schuldt said the program has been offered at the Culver schools for the past 20 years, with last year being the only year it wasn't presented.

"Kids should be able to opt out. It's what we do with anything like this," Schuldt said, adding he didn't know why the class wasn't provided last year.

No student has ever opted out of the class, he said.

McNeil said he'd received about 20 e-mails by last Tuesday supporting the school's firearms safety program. But he knows that it's a sensitive program.

"The rub with some parents, given the topic is guns, and the concern we have for firearms, is that we should have parents' permission," McNeil said. "Given the sensitivity that some people have ... in the future we'll have a permission slip, and we'll come up with alternative programs for them.

"At least this is an opportunity to let people know that folks who are very well qualified out there are willing to come in and share their knowledge for the benefit of our children's safety," McNeil added. "So, if (students) come into a situation where there is a gun, they can handle it properly so nobody gets hurt.

"I think (Falls) felt we were encouraging the kids to use guns," McNeil said.

He explained that despite Falls' complaint that students are learning too much about firearms, the schools' DARE program (which educates students against the use of drugs) includes showing what drugs look like, and that program has not been accused of promoting drug usage.

"This is not just to make me happy," Falls said of her quest to remove the class from the curriculum. "It still doesn't clear up the issue. ... When you teach gun safety, a lot of responsibility goes with that.

"Instead of making (the course) available in public school, they can contact the DNR to join a class," Falls said. "I don't see the necessity of it."
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Old 02-12-2007, 22:35   #2
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Sorry for it being so long. I did not write it. I am however, writing a letter to the editor of my local paper and the paper that printed this article. (The South Bend Tribune)
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Old 02-12-2007, 23:27   #3
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I am all for it. They have sex-ed, DARE (drug-ed?), workshop safety, etc. Why not firearm safety?

While I feel sorry for people who have loved ones that were victims of gun crimes, I do not understand how they can draw a conclusion that it is the gun's fault.

My friend's brother was jumped and beaten to death with tire irons and a fire extinguisher. He is not pushing to ban those items or even making them "safer" (less blunt I guess?). He knows who did it (they are in prison) and blames them and them alone.

We cannot un-invent the gun, so we are stuck with them and must make the best of it.
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Old 02-12-2007, 23:34   #4
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Originally posted by StockGlock23
Sorry for it being so long. I did not write it. I am however, writing a letter to the editor of my local paper and the paper that printed this article. (The South Bend Tribune)
Leave it to the Tribune (aka South Bend Toilet Paper) to print this trash. Hope you get published.
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Old 02-12-2007, 23:55   #5
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Re: Firearms safety course angers mother

Quote:
Originally posted by StockGlock23
Falls said a relative was murdered at gunpoint, adding, "We are anti-guns. ... Guns are made to kill, nothing more.
The best way I could think of to respond to that is this:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_2b_mFS3WM8

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. The gun does not go off involuntarily, it requires an input from a person to fire the round. Knives kill, cars kill, piano wire kills, baseball bats kill, yet we don't here people clamoring to restrict/ban those.

Okay, I'll put my soapbox away now.

I do applaud the school administrator for trying to introduce the program. I wish something like that would have been a program when I was a middle school student.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:41   #6
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:49   #7
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Tough cookies to the parent. Their "permission" is not and should not be relevant.

About time we as gun owners used the coercive power of the state to advance our cause. Firearm education should be mandatory in 6th, 9th and 12th grade. A qualification course including weapons handling of the M-16 should be mandatory in order to graduate and to vote.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:41   #8
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Maybe she should pull her daughter from "drivers ed" class, also.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:08   #9
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Dont forget HomEc....they have KNIVES in there...

At least they did when I was going to school.

I sponsor one of the local high schools shooting teams. They have made it to the state finals two years in a row, and a finer bunch of kids you cant hope to find. If they think that gun safety and hunter safety courses are bad, they need to come spend a day at the state finals. Thousands of kids, all under 18, each one in possession of a .22 rifle, a shotgun and a compound bow, lots of ammo, and arrows. No fights, no arguments, nothing but a good time by all, even the losers.

We had one parent that was against his daughter joining, but his wife over rode him on that one. He changed his mind after watching his little gun shoot like a champ, and when one of the state officers offered to hook him up with a .50 muzzle loader, he was well on his way to changing his mind about things. Shame so much of the world is closed minded.

Oh..that dad...hes a sponsor now as well, and bought all the ammo needed for practice this year.
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Old 02-13-2007, 13:30   #10
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Originally posted by KSFreeman
Tough cookies to the parent. Their "permission" is not and should not be relevant.
WTF???

So by the same token, if a Muslim appreciation class is given (or gay appreciation, or Christian appreciation.....), MY permission for MY child isn't relevant???

Bovine Excrement

I think you're way off base on that remark, Kirk. I strongly believe firearm safety should be taught in public schools, don't get me wrong, but a parent should be give some say.
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Old 02-13-2007, 15:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by sjstill
WTF???

So by the same token, if a Muslim appreciation class is given (or gay appreciation, or Christian appreciation.....), MY permission for MY child isn't relevant???

Bovine Excrement

I think you're way off base on that remark, Kirk. I strongly believe firearm safety should be taught in public schools, don't get me wrong, but a parent should be give some say.
I agree, but in my (and many other's) idea of a better education system this would not be much of an issue as there would be no "public schools" and parent would be able to choose where they want their child to go and what kind of education they want them to have.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:43   #12
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Originally posted by sjstill
I think you're way off base on that remark, Kirk. I strongly believe firearm safety should be taught in public schools, don't get me wrong, but a parent should be give some say.
I have to agree with Steve.

Parent's rights are just as important as Gun Rights.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:55   #13
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Again Socialism is the answer for Americas illness.

Give students and parents an out option, an alternate course of study. Ya right. Let's focus on how people feel without teaching kids the facts of life.

She needs to home school her kid.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:03   #14
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Again Socialism is the answer for Americas illness.

Give students and parents an out option, an alternate course of study. Ya right. Let's focus on how people feel without teaching kids the facts of life.

She needs to home school her kid.
So you're an advocate of the State having full control over your child's education?

I'm sure there's a lot of Socialistic countries that you could move to.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:58   #15
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Steve, I disagree. As gun owners we must seize control of the coercive power of the state. We gun owners are good about talking up rights, but we rarely mention duties. A citizen of a republic has a duty to learn about weaponry.

The antis have been doing it to us for years. Filling children's heads with false history and civis textbooks, forcing their "let the government do it" philosophy upon us. Let's turn their cannons (the schools) back on them!

The duty to bear arms trumps any parental say so. We tell parents what to do everyday. If parents do not wish to enroll their children in mandatory firearms education classes, then they can enroll them in private firearms classes or not allow the children to graduate.

Mandatory firearms education would destroy the "gun control" movement once and for all as "gun control" thrives on ignorance and fear. An educated citizenry would laugh at their inane claims.
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:20   #16
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Originally posted by KSFreeman
The duty to bear arms trumps any parental say so.
Well since the duty to bear arms is so important let's not stop with mandatory gun education. Let's have cops start breaking into houses and making sure the citizens have their mandatory guns onsite.

Sound ridiculous? It sure does. It's this kind of rhetoric that pushes the fence riders over to the Anti's side. You will never gain the support of the hardcore Anti's why not win over the moderates and outnumber them?
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:42   #17
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Certainly there is historical precedent for such a proposal, mpholic.

I agree, those not owning firearms should be fined. The money would be used to fund public firing ranges.

Of course, there is always Boston T. Party's idea in Molon Labe that those bearing arms would be exempt from all sales tax. Love that idea.

However, yes, you are right, there is always politics. We need to do this in slices. Make it optional for now and then make firearms training in schools mandatory.
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:54   #18
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Originally posted by KSFreeman
I agree, those not owning firearms should be fined. The money would be used to fund public firing ranges.
Wouldn't that be nice. Public firing ranges need all the funding they can get.

Quote:
Of course, there is always Boston T. Party's idea in Molon Labe that those bearing arms would be exempt from all sales tax. Love that idea.
I'm with you on that one.

Quote:
However, yes, you are right, there is always politics. We need to do this in slices. Make it optional for now and then make firearms training in schools mandatory.
I wonder if we could actually make that work? I do agree that proper firearms education would go a long way in making gun more palatable to the general masses. Maybe schedule the classes so the parents could also attend.
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:22   #19
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While I am all for firearm safety education,
I have to agree with Steve on this one.

Saying that there is a duty to bear arms, is akin to saying I must practice religion or assemble peaceably in public. I have those rights, but I don't have to practice them.

While my children will be educated on gun safety within their home, I think if a parent chooses for their child to forgo that option at school that should be permitted. Their loss.
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:47   #20
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IPDBrad, yes, the right to keep and bear arms is a duty. From The Bible to the Saxons to England to the Italian Republics to Colonial America to the Constitution of the State of Indiana, owning and carrying arms was something that a citizen was to do.

I think it is reasonable to disagree that the duty should be enforced a different way than forcing it upon schools ( other examples tax incentives, requirement for voting, cultural pressures, inter alia), however it is inaccurate as a matter of history and law to say that keep and bear arms is not a duty.
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