School Climate & Safety

Maryland Ready To Require Gun-Safety Education in Grades K-12

By Jessica L. Sandham — April 11, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Maryland was poised last week to become the first state to require gun-safety education for students in grades K-12.

Members of the House of Delegates approved a measure that would allow school districts to determine what type of curriculum materials they would use to teach students how to behave when and if they come in contact with a gun.

The Senate approved a similar measure last month, but as of late last week, differences between the two bills needed to be resolved so a bill could be sent to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, before the scheduled end of the session on April 9.

Barbara Hoffman

Under the Senate version, which was sponsored by Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, districts would have to incorporate gun-safety education in kindergarten through grade 12. The House version calls for firearms-safety education in grades K-6, but would allow districts to choose between gun-safety and hunting- safety instruction in grades 7-12.

The version passed by the House by a vote of 98-32 on April 5 was the result of compromise negotiations that centered around the role that the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program would play in the bill.

Some lawmakers feared that the state board of education would interpret the law in such a way that the NRA’s widely used program would be barred from schools. Others wanted the state to set the guidelines for carrying out the firearms-education program and did not see the need to name specific programs in the legislation. “We just wanted the local school districts and not the state board of education to determine what sort of programs to teach and how to teach it,” said Andrew A. Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, who noted that the Maryland bill would create the first firearms- safety requirement of its kind in the country. “All we wanted was a choice—we didn’t want to be left out of that choice.”

‘Don’t Touch’

Ultimately, the version that passed the House included a provision mandating that districts have the option of choosing among several programs. They include the Eddie Eagle program—which teaches students to “Stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area” and to tell an adult if they spot a firearm—as well as a program developed by the Washington-based Center to Prevent Handgun Violence and another created by the Baltimore-based National Emergency Medicine Association. Districts could also devise their own programs.

Ginni Wolf, the executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, said that while she was ultimately “comfortable” with the House version of the bill, she believed that it “provided free advertising for the NRA and its programs.”

Still, she said, “we were willing to accept almost anything other than mandated Eddie Eagle.”

“It’s a compromise,” she said, “and at least it gets education out there in the schools.”

Sen. Hoffman, a Democrat, said the compromise measure in the House fulfilled her desire that school districts maintain absolute local control over the curriculum. Ms. Hoffman said she backed the measure because of the experience of Carole and John Price, who lost their 13-year-old son, John Joseph Price, in 1998, when he was accidentally killed by a 9-year-old boy playing with a handgun. While Ms. Hoffman’s version of the bill was named after John Joseph Price, the House version is not.

“I would have been happy if they had been willing to name it for John Price,” Ms. Hoffman said. “But they’re not, and it doesn’t bring the child back.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 11, 2001 edition of Education Week as Maryland Ready To Require Gun-Safety Education in Grades K-12

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center Higher Student Morale Linked to In-Person Instruction, Survey Shows
Educators see student morale rising since last spring, according to a new EdWeek Research Center survey.
4 min read
Second-grade students raise their hands during a math lesson with teacher Carlin Daniels at Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, Conn., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.
Second grade students raise their hands during a math lesson in Meriden, Conn., Sept. 30.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
School Climate & Safety Law Against 'Disorderly Conduct' in Schools Led to Unfair Student Arrests, Judge Rules
The South Carolina ruling is a model for other states where students are still being arrested for minor incidents, an attorney said.
6 min read
Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table.
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock
School Climate & Safety A Rise in School Shootings Leads to Renewed Calls for Action
A return to in-person learning means a return to school shootings, advocates warn.
5 min read
Families depart the Mansfield ISD Center For The Performing Arts Center where families were reunited with Timberview High School Students, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Mansfield, Texas. Police in Texas have arrested a student suspected of opening fire during a fight at his Dallas-area high school, leaving four people injured.
Families were reunited Oct. 6 in Mansfield, Texas, after a student opened fire at Timberview High School in Arlington, leaving four people injured. Data show that the start of this school year has been particularly violent compared to previous years.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
School Climate & Safety TikTok Challenge to Slap a Teacher Prompts Urgent Warning
The slapping challenge, which so far has not been widespread, has put educators across the country on alert.
Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times
3 min read
The icon for TikTok pictured in New York on Feb. 25, 2020.
The icon for TikTok pictured in New York on Feb. 25, 2020.
AP