The school board in Culpeper County, Virginia has voted unanimously to offer a free, after-school firearm and hunter safety program to middle school students in the county’s public school system.
The safety program will be headed up by representatives from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries who will provide a certified instructor to teach the course at no cost to students or the school system itself.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will also be responsible for registering students who are interested in taking the class.
According to the school board, the students enrolled in the course will learn the basics surrounding the safe handling of firearms and also become familiar with conservation efforts taken on by hunters and other outdoorsmen.
In addition to the safety program being offered at the county’s two middle schools, School Board member Marshall Keene, who also serves as a school resource officer and introduced the idea to the board, says that he is exploring the launch of an NRA-sponsored firearms safety course at the county’s elementary schools as well.
Virginia law permits the establishment of firearms safety courses at both the elementary and middle school levels, and many localities, including Culpeper, offered such courses once upon a time.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to learn … the safe handling of firearms,” Keene said. “We live in a rural community, where a million people own firearms…If early education programs save one life, that’s enough.”
As Virginia has become ground zero for the nation’s gun-rights movement, a number of localities have considered bringing firearm and hunter safety courses back into public school curriculum.
Much like Culpeper, the County of Tazewell, in Virginia’s Southwest corner, has also opted to bring firearms safety training back to schools.
When Tazewell County’s Board of Supervisors voted to adopt Second Amendment sanctuary status, the funding of firearm safety courses was a centerpiece of the county’s resolution package, which also called for the formation of a local militia.