In an attempt to help end gun violence, one Arizona school district is asking parents to sign a pledge stating they will lock up their firearms and teach their teens to resolve conflicts using peaceful strategies.
Parents enrolling their children in high school or junior high school for the upcoming year in Tuscon’s Flowing Wells Unified School District are receiving the “Student/Parent/Principal Contract for Eliminating Guns and Weapons from School 2013 — 2014″ as part of their usual registration packet. They are asked to sign along with their children and school officials; however, no penalties exist for parents who do not wish to participate.
Under the agreement, parents are requested to instruct “…including by personal example, [their teenagers] about the dangers and consequences of the misuse of guns and weapons” and “keep any guns and all weapons under lock and away from school grounds and away from [their] children.”
In a semi-rural area where the open carriage of firearms is the norm — and legal — the suggestion that parents store guns in locked areas has stirred some controversy. Southern Arizona residents commonly bear arms in public, and some view the pledge as a violation of their Second Amendment rights as well as a blow to their usual lifestyle.
The Gun Owners of Arizona (GOAZ) organization has posted a copy of the pledge on their website, and is requesting that any parents who receive the contract from their child’s school notify them. One person associated with the group expressed concern on Facebook, stating “Wow ... parents need to tell them to shove that paper where the sun doesn’t shine! Who are they to ask this of parents? Stick to reading, writing, and arithmetic…that’s what they’re paid to teach.”
Despite outrage from the pro-gun camp, only two parents have complained about the pledge, according to the Arizona Daily Independent.
District Superintendent Dr. David Baker commented on the pledge, stating that educators had no intention of telling parents how to run their homes. He expressed an apology to anyone who misunderstood the aim of the contract, which is to promote safety in the classroom and beyond.