Aiming for safety
ELLENBORO — Ellenboro Elementary School students can really hit their targets.
On Thursday, second grade students learned about hunter safety and got the chance to put the safety tips to use while shooting pellet guns during a special presentation by Will Randall, a senior at East Rutherford High School.
Randall organized the presentation and demonstration as part of his senior project on hunter safety.
"I am going my project on hunter safety because I want to be a game warden one day. My mom teachers here and she mentioned that it might be a good idea to talk to the kids about hunter safety. I chose to do it with the second graders because that is the grade she teaches," Randall said. "I think that they are having a lot of fun today."
Before the students were allowed to shoot the guns, Randall went over several rules that they should always remember when handling the weapon.
Some of the rules included only pointing the barrel where you want to shoot and always wearing safety goggles.
After the presentation, the students lined up and took aim with the help of Wes Blair, a hunter safety specialist, and Don Vogel, wildlife officer for Rutherford County. Other wildlife officers from the county also assisted.
Vogel is Randall's mentor for the senior project.
"Will has gone to three nights of a hunter safety course that I taught at the Cooperative Extension. He did some tree stand demonstrations, field carries and crossing a fence with a firearm demonstrations," Vogel said.
According to Vogel, it is almost never too early to start teaching firearm safety to children.
"Most of these kids have BB guns already. We are just here to do a reinforcement of firearm safety. The most important thing we are talking to them about is muzzle control and pointing the gun in a safe direction at all times," Vogel said. "I think they are enjoying it. Everyone got to shoot twice and they asked if they could go again."
Principal Bill Bass said that this was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn safety tips that they can use at home.
"I think that it is fantastic that they are here today. The kids are getting to meet law enforcement and see them in a school setting. Most of them probably live in homes that have a gun, so firearm safety is a priority. We want to keep kids safe at school and at home," Bass said. "We are very pleased to have the wildlife officers here and we want to thank Will for organizing it."