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

Jobs 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.
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 Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Reading & Literacy K-12 Essentials Forum Writing and the Science of Reading
Join us for this free event as we highlight and discuss the intersection of reading and writing with Education Week reporters and expert guests.

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 Chaos, Disruption as More Schools Respond to Hoax 'Swatting' Reports
Faux reports of school shootings disrupted schools in at least three states this week.
5 min read
A police crime scene tape close-up
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Founder of Program for At-Risk Youth Says School Shooting Won’t Deter Him
The founder of the educational program in Des Moines was wounded in a shooting that killed two students.
2 min read
Will Keeps, president of Starts Right Here, pictured at his organization in Des Moines, Iowa, July 13, 2021. On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, Keeps, founder of the Starts Right Here program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, said he will remain “all in on helping kids that are not reachable in so many peoples' eyes” after he was wounded in last month's shooting that killed two of his students.
Will Keeps, founder of the Starts Right Here program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, pictured at his organization in Des Moines, Iowa. Keeps said he will remain “all in on helping kids that are not reachable in so many peoples' eyes” after he was wounded in last month's shooting that killed two of his students.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor There Are No Quick Fixes to School Shootings
"Unless we get serious about community safety, there will be no school safety," says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
School Climate & Safety For Drug Prevention, Scare Tactics Are Out. Here’s What’s In
Experts have advice for today's educators looking to choose effective models for drug-prevention education.
3 min read
First lady Nancy Reagan speaks at the first national conference of the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth in Washington on Oct. 11, 1982. “Many people think drug prevention is ‘just say no,’ like Nancy Reagan did in the '80s, and we know that did not work,” said Becky Vance, CEO of the Texas-based agency Drug Prevention Resources, which has advocated for evidenced-based anti-drug and alcohol abuse education for more than 85 years.
The late first lady Nancy Reagan speaks at the first national conference of the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth in Washington on Oct. 11, 1982. Experts say drug-prevention programs have evolved since those years, when many such programs turned out to be ineffective.
Barry Thumma/AP