Sunday, April 24, 2005

A New Take On "Western Studies"

In Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano has just signed into law Senate Bill 1271. This law makes her state the first in the nation that will authorize school districts to offer classes in marksmanship and gun-safety as high school electives:
The voluntary, one-semester elective is among the first in the nation, according to advocates. But many administrators in the [Phoenix] Valley say their budgets and schedules are over-taxed as it is, and offering an elective that doesn't relate to life skills or state standards isn't in the cards.

Al Korwin anticipated that tepid response. The Phoenix gun-law publisher initiated discussion of the bill, which Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, introduced in January. Korwin said he knew schools would be uncomfortable with the course because "a lot of teachers are fearful of guns."

Rex Powers isn't one of them. The Wickenburg High School art teacher and coach of one of the country's few high-powered-rifle teams has seen the self-discipline that working with firearms instills in students. But Powers fears losing time available to teach other courses.

"It's a good idea because we live in a state where there are a lot of firearms, and learning how to handle them responsibly is important," Powers said. "But we have enough on our hands. As long as it's voluntary, it's great. If it's going to cost the school district money, I'm not really for it."

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, which will certify the instructors, is in the process of developing the course's curriculum, though there should be one in place by the beginning of next school year. It is up to individual school boards to decide whether or when they will offer the course.
It was not disclosed if the schools will furnish the guns-N-ammo or if it will be BYOGA.
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