The Chelsea School District recognized gun violence awareness month with a message and commitment to responsibility and safety.
At the Aug. 21 school board meeting, the CSD Board of Education approved a Safe Storage and Gun Safety resolution.
The resolution said in part: “the Chelsea School Board and Superintendent shall collaborate with local law enforcement agencies, medical and mental health organizations, and nonprofit entities to further efforts in informing Chelsea School District parents of their responsibilities concerning secure firearm storage within their homes, and to promote other gun violence prevention safety measures.”
The Sun Times News followed up with CSD Superintendent Michael Kapolka about the resolution.
“Essentially, this resolution outlines a few areas for the district to take an active role in regularly communicating the importance of safe firearm storage, as well as other firearm safety and violence prevention measures to the district during gun violence awareness month,” said Kapolka. “It also affords us a focused opportunity to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies, medical and mental health organizations, and nonprofit entities to further efforts in informing Chelsea School District parents about safe firearm storage within their homes, and to promote other gun violence prevention safety measures.”
According to the CSD resolution, statistics reveal that the rates of death from firearms among ages 14 to 17 exceed motor vehicle-related death rates by 22.5 percent, which makes firearm injuries the primary cause of death among middle and high school-age children in the U.S. Also, the resolution states a report from the US Secret Service emphasizes that 76 percent of attackers involved in gun violence incidents on school grounds obtain firearms from the homes of parents or close relatives.
The resolution said, “it is distressing to note that approximately 350 children under the age of 18 suffer from unintentional shootings every year….and firearm suicides account for the loss of nearly 22,000 American lives annually, including over 950 children and teenagers.”
It said research reveals that almost half of firearm owners with children at home do not securely store at least one of their weapons and that it is well-established that secure firearm storage plays a crucial role in maintaining community safety.
One part of the resolution said the superintendent is instructed to develop a firearm safety program of instruction for students to be implemented no later than the 2024/2025 school year. This program may include the following:
- Topics such as safe firearm storage and handling.
- Age-appropriate instruction for students during K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade levels.
- Parents will be provided the option to exclude their children from this instruction.
The resolution said it’s the collective responsibility of all adult stakeholders within Chelsea School District to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff against the threat of gun violence.
There’s much more to the resolution. It can be viewed in full and found on the district’s website in the school board’s agenda and minutes section under the August 21 agenda.