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Gun class approved for Galt teachers

Elementary district gets OK; high school district is expected to follow

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Galt teachers and other employees will have the opportunity to use and recognize different types of guns in a class sponsored by the Galt Police Department. The voluntary course was unanimously approved by the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board on Wednesday.

“Any service that would provide an awareness and (the) abilities to keep staff and students safe is valuable,” teacher Susan Petersen said, adding that she may be interested in a class for self-defense purposes or strategies that would help protect her students. “From a parent’s point of view, I would appreciate any extra effort a school system participated in that would also help to keep my children safe.”

The gun safety and awareness course is in response to December’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The idea came from Galt Police Chief William Bowen.

The course will help employees gain a better understanding of:

  • Different types of guns, so they could more accurately inform law enforcement authorities should the need arise.
  • How to handle a gun in a possible situation where a gun is dropped, so that employees would know how to safely pick it up, according to Superintendent Karen Schauer of the Galt elementary school district.
  • Fighting a shooter, should they choose to do so because they could not run or hide.

It will be taught by police shooting range staff at a yet-to-be-determined date.

The course is expected to go before the Galt Joint Union High School District for approval later this month.

High school Superintendent Matthew Roberts said that since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the tragic shooting of Galt Police Officer Kevin Tonn in January, school districts and city officials have been working together to review current school safety practices so that they are as prepared as possible for any safety breach.

“The ability to identify and understand how a weapon works can be valuable information for staff,” he said earlier this week. “We continue to seek the public confidence and support as we revisit school safety plans, and train our staff, students and parents using the latest information.”

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Greg Geeting, president of the Sacramento County Office of Education board of trustees, presented the elementary school district with a plaque recognizing its collective efforts for strengthening student achievement and earning a Race To The Top grant award.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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