ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Public Schools and Confluence Academies are teaming up to provide gun safety education to thousands of students with lesson plans beginning for some schools as soon as next week.
Through the “Educators for Gun Safety” initiative, gun safety lessons will be added to the curriculum of 70 schools and reach out to more than 20,000 between two school systems in St. Louis City.
Education leaders say the lessons are part of a new phase in an effort to promote safety and reduce gun violence among youth.
According to Educators for Gun Safety, when the initiative launched in April, at least 35 children were shot and seven were killed. As of early-October, 18 children have died and 72 others have been hurt from gunfire in the St. Louis area this year.
“Our kids’ lives are on the line. We all have to do something, and proper gun safety precautions can save lives. The sad fact is we live in a world where many of our kids are surrounded by gun violence, and guns are often nearby and unsecured,” said Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, CEO of Confluence Academies, via a news release. “That’s why we need to bring gun safety education directly into our classrooms.”
The lessons will offer insight on several topics, including how children can avoid unsafe situations involving guns, what to do if they find themselves in a situation with an unlocked gun, how guns can be safely stored and what kind of conversations to have about guns with their parents or guardians.
The lessons follow an effort through which St. Louis schools have given out hundreds of free gun locks to parents. Handing out free gun locks and providing safety education are some of the first steps through which Education for Gun Safety hopes to connect with parents.
“Guns are killing our children and it has to stop,” said Saint Louis Public Schools retiring Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams. “We launched this effort with outreach and events to make sure our parents and families know how to lock their guns and provide them with free gun locks.”
A representative from Confluence Academies tells FOX 2 that the first gun safety lessons will start next Tuesday for an eighth grade class at Old North Academy. Confluence and SLPS will organize age-appropriate lessons plans for kindergarteners through 12th graders in the school systems.
Additionally, both school systems will give away more free gun locks at upcoming events and offer resources for parents attending such events.
“Education For Gun Safety was originally geared toward parents,” said Rachael Burchett, a public relations specialist with Confluence Academies. “We had gun lock events to provide any parents or community members with free gun locks. We’ll be continuing those [and] make sure parents know how to safely secure firearms in the home if they have them and how to talk to their kids about gun safety.”
Ahead of the lessons, Confluence Academies also sample lessons and handouts pertaining to the gun safety education.