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Draft guidelines on firearms in schools

Draft guidelines to bring clarity and consistency on firearms in schools

It is important that boards of trustees and their school communities provide feedback on the draft guidelines for schools on the safe use and storage of firearms, released today by the Ministry of Education.

"We know there will be strong opinions about this, and it’s important that people who hold those opinions participate in the consultation. Schools, parents, students and communities need to be on the same page on this," says Lorraine Kerr, President of NZSTA.

There are a range of circumstances where a board might want to consider allowing firearms on school premises, for example Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) activities such as cadet force activities, secondary school shooting championships, or career days.

There is an expectation that schools provide a well-rounded education, suited to local circumstances. In New Zealand, outdoor recreation pursuits such as tramping, rock climbing, skiing, white water rafting, swimming, fishing and hunting are a significant part of the Kiwi lifestyle and a career in the armed services can be an important feature in in some communities.

"It’s important that school provides opportunities for students to learn about a whole range of things they will encounter at home or in later life, in a safe and controlled environment," says Lorraine Kerr.

"We don’t want to wrap our kids in cotton wool, but we do need to make sure that we take all reasonably practicable steps to make sure they are safe.

"We need to make sure that everyone is clear about what the rules are, and that the policies and processes we adopt are fit for purpose. It’s our hope that the guidelines will provide clarity and consistency for all boards facing these decisions."

The draft guidelines will be reviewed in May this year, to take into account feedback received during the consultation phase before the guidelines are finalised in July.

Further information including the draft guidelines is available on the Ministry of Education website http://www.education.govt.nz/firearms-policy-for-schools-consultation.
ENDS

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