BUTLER COUNTY, Iowa — A rural community in Iowa is working to implement a mandatory gun safety course in two middle schools this spring.
According to FOX News, North Butler Community Schools District Superintendent Joel Foster is implementing a week-long hunter’s safety training program that will provide training on vast survival skills, including gun safety.
“Our job and what we do best is education and educating our kids is a lot better than having them learn about these things on the street,” Foster reportedly said.
The school district had allegedly debated the program for years, but the latest push comes from the recent death of a high school student as a result of an accidental shooting.
Foster told the news outlet that due to the quantity of weapons in the area that “it’s important that [the schools] do these things.” He also said that many students encounter guns at a young age through activities such as fishing and hunting, as well as have access to them in their homes.
The class will be a mandatory part of the district’s physical education program and, according to FOX News, no parents have opted out of the program. If a parent chooses to remove their child, the student will attend a study hall instead.
The class will instructed by the local Department of Natural Resources and experts from the Butler County Conservation Board.
After completing the week-long program featuring a gun safety class with unloaded guns, basic survival and first aid skills, water safety, wildlife identification and more, the students will reportedly receive a certificate of competition from the DNR.
Some critics have responded saying that middle schoolers “haven’t developed the cognitive capacity of an adult to rationally understand the risk of firearms,” however the school disagrees.
“We have conditions in this country that have made this a political debate and it’s really not a political debate for us we feel like we’re doing right for our community,” Foster said.