Hellgate Elementary School Superintendent Doug Reisig said on Thursday that a special assembly on firearms safety will be presented to his first through third graders on September 17.

“It’s an assembly in which Miss Lynette Sims is going to be presenting the ‘Be Safe for Gun Safety’ course for boys and girls in Montana,” said Reisig. “This program is endorsed and funded by the Western Montana Fish and Game Association.”

Reisig explains the purpose of the assembly.

“Basically what we’re trying to do is just get information out to our children, especially with hunting season coming up, about how to stay safe around firearms,” he said. “Obviously, we know that it is a parent’s responsibility, an adult's responsibility, but sometimes children are going to be placed in a situation where maybe it is less safe than what we would all want, and we’re just trying to increase safety awareness in our kids about how to stay safe around firearms.”

Reisig said the entire program centers around five simple rules.

“Obviously, always assume that a gun is loaded, never point the gun at another individual and don’t put your finger on that trigger unless you’re meaning to pull that trigger,” he said. “Obviously, if you’re a child and you’re at a friend’s house and the parents haven’t properly stored their firearms, we’re encouraging our kids to just leave that area, and if a child picks up one of those firearms, leave the area and go find an adult and tell them there’s a child playing with it. It’s not a toy.”

Reisig said information is important for people of all ages, especially school age children.

“I just want to provide information to our kids to minimize the opportunity for accidents to happen,” he said. “I’ve lived in Montana all my life. I own firearms and I properly store them, and I want children to be as safe as possible. I’m not advocating that people go out and buy firearms by any stretch of the imagination, but I have 1,500 children here and we’re going to try to provide that information to about 550 of them next Tuesday on how to stay safe. Are there other programs out there that are better than this one? Maybe there are, but we’re going to try this one this year and we’ll evaluate it, and then the school board will make a decision as to whether they want to continue with this one or go with a different one, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Reisig said any parent can ask to have their child opt out of the assembly.

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