A popular freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Seattle, WA openly fired at two of his friends and then pointed the gun back at himself on Oct. 24. The shooter had texted Gia Soriano, 14, and Zoe Galasso, 14, to sit with him at lunch; upon arriving, Jaylen Fryberg used a .40 caliber pistol in the cafeteria of the high school, leaving his two friends dead and four injured. Once he had completed this he put the gun to his own head and took his life.
Due to recent shootings like this, Missouri public schools are taking legal action to ensure that their future students will be safe from potential school shootings. A new law was signed in July that first-graders will now have a gun safety class along with the rest of their curriculum. In some cases, these courses will be taught through the National Rifle Association as part of an “Eddie Eagle” Gunsafe Program. In this program, students are taught about gun safety from an eagle mascot. Classes can start as young as pre-school and can run up to third grade. Guns will not be involved in the teaching of the course, and teachers are not allowed to state personal opinions to the students about their views on the issue. Dan Brown, a member of the NRA, claims that students who are raised around guns are less likely to play with them because they become just like an everyday appliance. The program is meant to teach children what they should do in response to seeing a gun: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”
This topic is very controversial, as some parents choose not to have guns in their household, and don’t want their children to hear about firearms in the classroom setting; others feel that the gun safety lessons would benefit the kids and help them make smarter decisions in the future.
A 2004 study from the North Dakota State University Psychology Department tested the “Eddie Eagle” program in which children were given guns in a fake scenario; the children were able to repeat back what the lesson taught them, but they did not put their words into action. The study stated that programs like these lack active learning approaches, and may not be effective.