4/21/16 Haw River police offer lessons for fifth-graders

Reviewing gun safety
Haw River police Sgt. Doug Faulls talks with fourth-graders Wednesday in the media center at Haw River Elementary School about how to stay safe. Faulls is the school outreach coordinator and has been instructing students about gun safety.

Sam Roberts / Times-News

Haw River police Sgt. Doug Faulls talks with fourth-graders Wednesday in the media center at Haw River Elementary School about how to stay safe. Faulls is the school outreach coordinator and has been instructing students about gun safety.

Haw River police offer lessons for fifth-graders
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 4/21/16  
Reprinted with permission.  

   HAW RIVER — Twenty-one fifth-graders were in the library at Haw River Elementary School this week to get a pretty simple message:

   “Stop, don’t touch, run away and tell a grown-up,” sang Eddie Eagle, gun-safety mascot of the National Rifle Association, in a video on the library’s Smart Board.

   They are among the first Alamance County kids to get a gun-safety message from the NRA’s curriculum.

   The kids watched a video that didn’t comment on the rightness or wrongness of owning a gun, though one of the characters in the video says her mom has one. They also heard from Haw River Police Sgt. Doug Faulls.

   “Some of you have been to the range or been hunting with your parents, and that’s awesome, but I want to stress to you that you have to do that with your parents,” Faulls said. “You are not old enough to go by yourself.”

   Faulls set up the video talking to the kids about who keeps them safe. They said police, firefighters, teachers and parents. He told them they keep each other safe, too.

   “We look out for each other, right?” Faulls asked.

A fourth-grader completes a word search after learning about gun safety in which kids were taught the phrase, “Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown-Up.”  

A fourth-grader completes a word search after learning about gun safety in which kids were taught the phrase, “Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown-Up.”

 

   The animated video shows Eddie Eagle and a group of other birds on a playground. One of them finds a bag with an automatic pistol in it. One of them reaches for it, and    Eddie stops him with the stop-don’t-touch song. One of the other characters repeats the message in Spanish. The characters talk about the difference between real guns and the ones in a video game, where they might find a gun — like someone’s house or purse — and which adults they could tell about the one they found. The NRA website points out that none of the characters touches a gun.

   Once the video was over, Faulls reinforced the message, getting the kids talking and asking questions. They asked about realistic toys, and Faulls told them if they are in doubt, they need to get an adult to make sure it’s not a real gun. They asked what to do when other kids ignore them and touch the gun anyway, and Faulls told them to get an adult.

   One girl set up a scenario in which she finds a gun while hiding from someone who’s broken into the house, and Faulls said, hinting the scenario was far-fetched, she should call the police.

   “If you’re not trained, if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Faulls said, “you have a much better chance of hurting yourself than somebody else.”

  Assistant Chief Scott Thomas, someone the kids know from DARE and because his wife is teacher assistant at Haw River, said he takes hi 20-plus-year-old daughters to the gun range, but won’t get them their own guns.

   Gun safety was some thing the department had wanted to do in school for a few years, Thomas said. They chose the NRA program because it was affordable, Faulls said but only after they looked it over and deemed i appropriate. The department also cleared it with the district, they said. The NRA has offered the pro gram since 1988. It was updated in 2015.

   All the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Haw River had a session this week, Faulls said, and the department will continue with new third-grader every year from now on.