SEYMOUR, Conn. (WTNH) — Seymour Public Schools is hosting a pilot program to teach students about gun safety.
The presentation features cartoon character McGruff the Crime Dog to teach students four steps in case they find an unattended gun or see a student with a gun at school — stop. Don’t touch. Get away. Tell an adult.
The Seymour school district is partnering with the town’s police department and Project Child Safe to introduce the program to first through fifth grade at its two elementary schools.
“We want to let these kids know that if they’re at a friend’s house or relative’s house, somewhere where they find a gun or see a gun, that [guns are] dangerous and they can hurt you if you’re not trained property,” said Rich Kearns, director of security for Seymour Public Schools. “It can cause serious injury or death.”
Brain Friedlander, a school resource officer with the Seymour Police Department, said it’s never to young to learn about gun safety. He said young children will also run into problems.
“If they know what to do, we’re keeping them safe,” he said.
The new program comes after Ethan’s Law was signed into law in 2019. The legislation was named in honor of the Guilford teen who was killed by an unsecured gun at a friend’s house.
The law mandates safe gun storage around children and includes guidelines about teaching gun safety.
Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song, is working on an in-depth gun safety program for students. She hopes to implement it statewide this fall.
Seymour Superintendent Susan Compton said the district felt the need to act now.
“This is something that will give our kids a better sense of assurance and a better understanding of how to keep themselves as individuals safe and report things that they may see,” Compton said.
The 30-minute program is not mandatory for students. So far, of the nearly 1,000 elementary students scheduled to take the program, no child has been opted out.
“With everything that’s going on in the world right now, [students] should be a little aware of things,” said Nicole Stockmal, a mother of two children enrolled at Bungay Elementary School.
School leaders and the police department are also receiving funds to provide free gun safety locks to the community.