Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America deputy director Jennifer Hoppe says news that Forest Hills Elementary School teaches a gun safety course to kindergarteners—then repeats it to those same students again when they are in third grade—is “atrocious” and a “disingenious” way for adults to dodge the responsibility they face for owning guns.
Forest Hills Elementary is located in Sidman, Pennsylvania, and each October they teach an optional course titled, “Gun Shop” to kindergarteners and third graders.
Yahoo News reports that the course is taught by fourth grade teacher Daniel Krestar, who uses NRA Eddie Eagle videos to help show kids what to do if they find a gun. Eddie Eagle is a cartoon character created by the NRA to teach children to, “stop, don’t touch, run away, and tell a grown-up,” if they come across a gun. Krestar couples the Eddie Eagle videos with other videos about “crime awareness” and talks to children about resolving anger in ways that do not involve a weapon—whether that weapon is a gun or a knife or a blunt object.
Krestar stresses that “[the] course isn’t pro-gun or anti-gun.” Rather, it’s one that teaches “kids how to be safe around guns” in Cambria County, where “more than 80 percent of homeowners” own guns.
Moms Demand Action’s Jennifer Hoppe recoiled at the news that Forest Hills was teaching children about gun safety. She said, “It’s atrocious to put the onus of gun safety onto children — this is an adult problem. Every gun that’s gotten into the hands of a child has first been under the control of an adult. A program that tries to dodge that is disingenuous.”
In a further effort to make her point, Hoppe added, “Accidental gun deaths among children are not ‘accidental,’” suggesting that the focus should be on how they are “preventable” if adults store guns properly.
Ironically, it was just months ago that Huffington Post went comparably apoplectic after gun control proponent Mark Kelly praised the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program for its effectiveness with children. On April 14, Kelly tweeted: “I don’t agree w/ the NRA on some big issues, but they deserve a lot of credit for teaching kids about gun safety [via] Eddie Eagle.”
HuffPo responsed to Kelly thus:
Mark, you may believe that the Eddie Eagle program is a serious and successful effort to spread the word about gun safety, but it’s actually the NRA’s poster child for making everyone believe that the organization represents a positive force in the debate about guns. In fact, we wouldn’t need a gun debate if the NRA hadn’t decided back in the 1980s to abandon a hundred-year tradition of representing hunters and sport shooters, embarking instead on a continuous campaign to become America’s leading civil rights organization by protecting us from gun-grabbing liberals, big-city mayors and anyone else with an interest in having a rational discussion about guns.
Notice—HuffPo takes Kelly to task for admitting there are great results coming out of the gun safety courses for kids, then blames the NRA for the absence of “a rational discussion about guns.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com.