Does HealthSmart address gun violence?

Grades K and 3 include specific mention of basic safety around firearms, and gun safety is also addressed in the context of injury prevention at both the middle and high school levels.

At the elementary level, students are taught simple firearm safety rules (e.g., never touch a gun or bullets, tell an adult if you find a gun). Gun safety is also addressed in the context of injury prevention at both the middle and high school levels. Students propose specific safety strategies for preventing injuries related to the leading causes of death among teens, including firearm injuries. Lessons emphasize the importance of training in the proper use of firearms for sport or hunting, as well as correct cleaning and transportation. There are also lessons that review and practice established school and district procedures to follow in the event of school emergencies, such as lockdowns or intruders, in the Violence & Injury Prevention units in both middle and high school.

The High School Violence & Injury Prevention unit also includes specific discussion of how the presence of guns or other weapons increases the risk of violent injury. Students examine factors that contribute to violence in a school setting, including the presence of weapons. They work in small groups to brainstorm and discuss how strong emotions, a need for personal power, lack of respect, use of alcohol or other drugs, gang involvement, and access to weapons can increase the risk of violence. They practice identifying crisis situations and asking for adult help if there are people who are in danger of hurting themselves or others.

In general, the K-12 HealthSmart program builds an overall foundation for preventing violence and injury from many sources. Lessons teach students the skills needed to make safe decisions and identify and deal with unsafe events. For example, students establish guidelines for respect and trust that will help make their classroom a safe place to be. They learn to express strong feelings in healthy ways, manage anger and get help for troublesome feelings. They practice specific skills to change risky or unhealthy behaviors, and learn how to get help from adults if they or others are in danger.