Augusta, GA – It’s a way to keep students safe in Richmond County from the inside out. The US Attorney’s Office wants to partner with the school system to teach children about gun safety.
The third grader who fired a gun in an Augusta classroom last month caught the attention of US Attorney Ed Tarver. A representative made a presentation before the school board on Tuesday in hopes of educating students about the dangers of weapons.
The shooting in a third grade class at W.S. Hornsby K-8 School shocked parents and students. Details of what deputies called an “accidental” shooting had the school board scrambling for ways to prevent gun violence.
“Most of our incidents of students being in possession of firearms are coming out in our elementary schools where students are curious; they are not using them maliciously,” said Chief Alfonzo Williams with the Richmond County School System.
While public safety addresses physical solutions to the problem, school officials are also reiterating the need for more education.
The school system was approached by the US Attorney’s Office to join its student pledge program against gun violence.
“It’s an opportunity for parents to talk to their children, to go over this pledge with them, to understand it, and to bring about additional awareness,” said Williams.
The students make three promises, “I pledge I will never bring a gun to school; I will never use a gun to settle a dispute; I will use my influence with my friends to keep them from using guns to settle disputes.”
The program began in 1996 through a Senate Resolution and a Presidential Proclamation. Not only do students get the chance to sign the pledge, they will get more access to guest speakers.
An example of a presentation given to the school board was of a middle school in Athens-Clarke County. Students were shown jail uniforms and the reality behind bars.
“This pledge, they will have an opportunity to invite in guest speakers or law enforcement to generate conversation, to talk to our children about the importance of being responsible and staying away from weapons,” said Williams.
The school board will officially vote to initiate the program next week. Once approved, the program will start as early as mid-October.