On-site hunter safety course approved for RSU 3 students

Course open to middle schoolers only
By Ben Holbrook | Oct 17, 2012

Thorndike — On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Regional School Unit 3 Board approved a request to allow a hunter safety course to be taught at the Mount View Complex for middle school students.

The approval means firearms, including bows and arrows, can be brought onto school grounds for instructional purposes only. In addition, the Hunter Safety course offered after school is only open to middle school students.

Pat Hughes, director of adult education for RSU 3, said the course is "hugely popular" with the community. The course offered by adult education is separate from the course school board members approved during their Tuesday, Oct. 9 meeting.

Community members and high school students would have to take the regular course offered through the adult education program, which begins again during the spring semester.

Previously, the hunter safety course was held on school grounds, but was moved off campus after a hunter walked into the school with a rifle, which caused a “huge uproar,” Hughes told the School Board.

The course is now held at the Jackson Fire Department, Hughes said during a telephone interview Monday, Oct. 15. That course could also be offered at the Mount View Complex if the instructors want to move, Hughes said.

Any request to bring weapons into a school must be approved by the School Board as part of district policy. Typically, firearms are prohibited on school grounds; however, there is an exemption that allows them if they are being used for educational purposes.

“The Board may exempt instructional programs that involve firearms or other weapons (such as bows and arrows), or may allow firearms or other weapons to be brought to school for specific instructional programs (such as archery or hunter safety),” the policy states.

Hughes noted only “dummy” firearms would be used during the course and the bows would never be drawn back.

Board Chairman Phil Shibles asked how many students are interested in the course and Hughes said the class is open to 15 students

Hughes said the course would begin after the middle school is dismissed for the day, and end in time for students to take the late bus home. She said there is normally a $5 material fee associated with the course, but she believed that fee would be waived for students by the district.

Superintendent Heather Perry explained that approving the course would not mean other weapons are allowed on school grounds, and the approval only applies to the hunter safety course.

School Board members unanimously approved allowing the course to be taught on school grounds.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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