“Peoria Student Brings Loaded Gun to School'” “Child, 2, Shot By Older Brother.” “16 year old girl Commits Suicide With Parent’s Gun. ”
Are you heartsick at reading headlines like these nearly every week right here in Arizona? So am I. Parents and teachers like myself across the United States have united to help stop unintentional child shootings and to reduce teen suicides by teaching a free program called Be SMART.
Last year, the National PTA endorsed Be SMART and now a local group, part of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is reaching across the usual political lines drawn between gun owners and those advocating for stricter gun laws to create a nonpartisan space where parents, teachers, medical providers and others can talk about practical ways to stop kids from killing or injuring themselves or others by pledging to follow five simple steps.
These 5 steps are outlined in free programs given by trained presenters with written materials – in English and Spanish- available to copy and use.
Presenters also have a limited number of gun locks to give to gun owners. Presenters ask participants to “leave their politics at the door” in order to focus on how to save our children’s lives.
What makes Be SMART unique is the expectation that the primary responsibility lands on adults to secure any guns safely out of reach of children. Teaching children how to be careful around guns is important, but is NOT enough.
Be SMART also teaches parents how to ask others if they have any unsecured guns or other weapons in their home before letting your children go over to play. Surprisingly, perhaps, gun owners usually don’t mind being asked this! Practicing how to ask is helpful, though.
Although teen suicide cannot be stopped completely, Be SMART teaches parents of at-risk children to keep loaded guns away from them. Perhaps just making it more difficult to reach a gun will stop a child from making a choice that can’t be undone.
If your PTA or other group of adults, education group, Chamber of Commerce, Preschool Parent group, etc. would like to schedule a free Be SMART presentation, please contact Kathleen Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like info on becoming a presenter, just ask. We do have a need for bilingual translators (Spanish/English or Sign Language Interpreters) to help at our presentations.
Note: Be SMART is NOT designed for presentations to children.