PIQUA — “Stop. Don’t touch. Go tell a grown-up.”
That is the mantra that fourth grade students in Lynn Schemmel’s wellness course at Piqua Central Intermediate School learned in regard to guns Thursday afternoon. Officer Brett Marrs of the Piqua Police Department conducted a presentation for the students on gun safety, teaching them the importance of treating every gun as if it was real and loaded at all times.
Marrs began the presentation by helping the students become familiar with the types of tools a police officer carries on his belt, explaining that they are used to protect the public.
“All these tools are not designed to hurt you, they’re designed to keep you safe,” Marrs said.
This presentation, sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), included a cartoon video of a character named Eddie the Eagle. The video taught the children that if they should find a gun, they should stop what they are doing, do not touch the gun, and then go tell an adult about the gun they found so the adult can take care of the situation.
“Finding a gun can be an extremely stressful situation,” Marrs said.
Marrs taught the students about the importance of always treating every gun that they may see as if it were real by showing them pictures of a variety of guns where it was unclear if the gun was real or a toy. There were toy guns that were nearly or completely identical to real firearms, as well as real guns modified in some way to look like a toy.
“That is a fake gun that has been modified to be real,” Marrs said about a photo of a Super Soaker 2000 that was modified to fit a 12-gauge shotgun inside of it. “There is no water coming out of this one.”
Marrs also taught the students the importance of always treating guns as if they are loaded.
“We treat all guns as if they were real and loaded at all times,” Marrs said.
Marrs discussed an incident in which a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was teaching a class about gun safety when he accidentally shot himself in the foot. The agent was careless with the weapon and ended up putting himself in a dangerous situation.
“Every gun is loaded all the time. Every gun is real all the time,” Marrs said.
The wellness course is a six-week course that students take in order to learn skills that promote their overall well-being.
“Anything to teach a kid to take better care of themselves,” Schemmel said.
As part of the course, PROTECT Piqua and the Piqua Police Department teach the students about gun safety as well as get them familiar with police officers. The Piqua Fire Department holds a presentation on home fire safety. Miami County Dental Clinic talks to the students about oral hygiene, and the school nurse also discusses personal hygiene with them. Balance Yoga by Amanda Brown also gives the students a yoga lesson and discusses the benefits of yoga.
Also as part of the wellness course, Walmart donates food each week to help the students learn how to prepare a variety of foods from different food groups.
“Walmart will eventually feed five food groups to almost 900 students,” Schemmel said.
Other lessons include the importance of exercise, mindfulness, healthy eating, emergency situations and other topics.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336