Should we ban shooting sports in schools?

Should we ban shooting sports in schools?

Some legislators in Albany think so.

I recently learned of Bill A10428 which would ban archery, rifle and all other shooting sports from New York public schools statewide. Assemblywoman Rosenthall (D-Manhattan) believes this will make children safer by never teaching them anything about shooting sports and will reduce school violence. This is horrible policy and this bill should be tabled immediately.

People fear what they do not know. If children are never introduced to shooting sports such as archery or trap shooting, they will instinctively fear bows, arrows, guns and bullets. All existing school curriculums focus on teaching respect for these things and how to use them properly such as “Never point a weapon at a person.” Isn’t this something that should be taught in schools? Banning this educational moment from PE classes is a missed opportunity. Shooting sports also provide a way for children to see mathematics and physics in action. An arrow shot into the air is going to land somewhere. Kids’ can use math to figure this out and dispel the notion that they always hit their intended target. We need to find ways for children to see why math and science are so important to everyday lives. This bill takes yet another avenue away from educators trying to reach students.

The biggest reason of all to table this bill is it is yet another mandate from Albany telling local schools and communities what they cannot teach. If NYC public schools don’t want to teach children shooting sports or have competitive teams, that’s fine. I will not force them to. However, some Upstate districts do and have competitive teams at the middle school and high school level. This legislation takes away their opportunity to compete. Lower income students may not have other ways to participate in sports outside of school so these competitions provide another outlet for them. Shooting sports such as archery and air rifle are Olympic events and some colleges even offer scholarships in these sports. Mandating a ban from Manhattan and Albany will deprive kids of the opportunity to improve their skills, learn teamwork and possibly a route to a collegiate scholarship and the Olympics.

New York State needs to provide students with more opportunities, not less. Students need the opportunity to learn, hands on, that bows and guns must be properly handled and treated with respect. Let’s let local communities and school districts decide how students learn best, not yet another bad decision made in Albany. Bill A10428 asserts a false truth that not teaching children about bows and guns in school means they won’t be able to use them. It actually ensures that mass media, video games and YouTube videos will. Who do you want your children learning from?

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