COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Students at the Shepard School in east Columbus are leaving class with what teachers are calling an important lesson: gun safety.
On Friday, the students participated in a course taught by experts from the ONYX Gun Club and Columbus police officers. Principal Amber Estis said she doesn’t want to see another young person killed from gun violence.
Estis said if the students leave school today taking away just one point from the lesson, she feels like she’s completed her mission.
The message the officers and firearm academy said they hope students leave with is: Stop, don’t touch, run away and find an adult.
Estis, who has her concealed carry license, said she understands the danger of guns. Now, she wants her students to understand how dangerous guns are.
“They are all my kids. And when you see it on the news or you get the call that one of them is gone and lost to gun violence, it’s like, what am I supposed to do, what do I do next?” Estis said. “And the only thing I know to do is to educate.”
Douglas McDonald Sr. has two grandchildren at the Shepard School and others at East High.
He said one of his grandchildren’s best friends was Lovely Kendricks, the 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed at Franklin Park in October. McDonald said his grandchildren are traumatized by the violence they’ve seen in Columbus.
“I have conversations with my grandson and he was like, he made a comment had he had a gun the day of the shooting at the park he could’ve shot back. I said, ‘No, then there would’ve been two of y’all dead, maybe three,'” McDonald said.
McDonald thinks more Columbus schools should trainings like the one at Shepard School — instruction that shows children what gun locks are and what to do if they come across a gun in public.
After the class, as each student signed their gun safety pledge, Estis said she hopes students carry what they’ve learned with them.
“I want people to know that you have a choice, because I think that is just as important as the education is knowing that you have a choice, too,” Estis said.