By: Teresa Mull

A few rural schools are taking a refreshing approach to the gun violence debate by offering students classes on firearms and hunter safety.

“Two rural Iowa school districts are planning to offer firearms safety courses for middle school students this spring,” reports. “Hunter safety courses have been offered after school or on the weekends, but this is changing, and not just in Iowa. Four South Dakota schools now offer them during the school day.”

Students, 12-years-old and older, whose parents approve of the course offerings, will spend about a week of their physical education classes learning about gun safety via a computer program; they won’t handle real firearms.

Joel Foster, an Iowa school superintendent, told KSFY:

“A lot of kids nowadays think that guns are something in video games, and they need to know that there is a difference between a video game and reality … We’ve done everything that we can, as far as facilities, as far as locking doors, push button systems, cameras all over the place, and we just wanted to do everything that we can. We felt that this was the next step, to educate our kids.”

A parent told the news station he is glad the schools are teaching children respect toward firearms and “how dangerous they can be.”

“We think we are doing the right thing for our community,” Foster said. “I’m struggling with the fact that it’s kind of become so political, because there’s nothing political about it. We’re trying to teach our kids the right thing and how to be safe.”

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at