Dave Rauzi’s recent editorial [Dec. 19 issue] was headlined Schools are Front Lines in Teaching Kids Gun Safety. He makes an argument for the need for children to learn gun safety at a young age. He doesn’t specify if he meant all children or just those interested in guns, but he was clear that the public school system should become the vehicle for gun instruction.
Leave aside the fact that about 3 percent of Americans own half of all guns in civil society, and that fewer than half of all American households own guns at all, the question as to who should provide gun instruction is a legitimate one. Full disclosure; I have a lively interest in guns, as do my sons, but my wife and daughter have none whatsoever. Sewing machines, now that’s a different question. But I want to quarrel with Mr. Rauzi’s contention that schools should be the gun instructors.
Schools do not have time to take on another teaching curriculum. They have only 5 ½ hours of instructional time available in any given day, which is all they can handle. It seems every time someone identifies a new problem in society, someone else cooks up a remedy to dump on school systems. It’s to the point that if some new curriculum is brought in, something else has to go.
What do you want eliminated? Reading? Math? Science? Social studies? And if nothing is eliminated, what should happen? Should teachers talk faster? How about a longer teaching day? No, aside from being a really bad idea instructionally (late afternoon sessions are less productive because kids are tired), you may have heard MVSD teachers are currently working without a contract. As a result, they are somehow not feeling the love these days. Asking them to take on more at a moment when the school board is threatening a $1.6 million cut amounts to insult heaped upon injury.
A different solution needs to be found. Examples might be local shooting clubs or wildlife foundations offering firearm instruction after school, on weekends, or in summer months. But the idea that public schools should do it is a really bad idea.