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WISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) Letter to Parents on Firearm Safety

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January 15, 2021

The following is a letter from the WISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). The SHAC is a group of individuals representing segments of the community, appointed by the school board to provide advice to the district on coordinated school health programming and its impact on student health and learning. The SHAC assists the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district's health education instruction. Each year the SHAC members select an area of focus, with 20-21’s being firearm safety.

Wimberley ISD Parents and Guardians-

The WISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is thinking of you and your family during these intense and unprecedented times. We want to express how grateful we are to you for working to keep your kids safe and healthy.

In the current circumstances, we are doing our best to bring awareness to the risk of gun-related incidents and suicide, as well as provide some guidance on secure gun storage. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a new set of challenges for all of us, and we want to share these valuable educational resources during this unusual time for our students.

Here are some prominent facts about gun safety in America:

  • An estimated 13 million households with children in the U.S. have at least one gun. Not all of these firearms are stored securely; approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun that is stored loaded and unlocked.
  • An overwhelming majority of unintentional shootings by children could have been prevented with secure storage. Unloaded firearms should be secured with a firearm-locking device, such as a jacket or cable lock, or in a locked location, like a safe or lock box. Ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm in a secure location.
  • The Be SMART program asks parents and caretakers, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, to ‘Be SMART’ and take these simple steps:
    • Secure all guns in homes and vehicles
    • Model responsible behavior
    • Ask about firearms in other homes your child visits
    • Recognize the role of guns in suicide
    • Tell your peers to Be SMART
  • Research indicates that secure gun storage practices, including storing household guns locked, unloaded, and separate from the ammunition, are associated with reduced rates of child firearm suicide. One study showed that households that locked both firearms and ammunition had a 78 percent lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries among children and teenagers.

Be SMART also has a host of tools and resources available digitally:

For your convenience, free gun locks are available in all of the WISD nurses and counselors’ offices.

 

Please let us know if there is any way that we can support you and your family during these unique times.

 

Sincerely,

WISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)