The program is called Eddie Eagle and its purpose is to teach children about gun safety.
For one mom, however, it’s going against her parenting practices.
As Action News Jax reports, the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, became outraged after resource officers at Mandarin Oaks Elementary in Duval County, Florida presented to students an Eddie Eagle program about gun safety.
The mother says she was not asked permission before her seven-year-old son participated in this program, which goes directly against her moral views.
As a result, her son is now fighting back on the lesson — the idea that all guns are bad — she has spent years teaching him. Referring to a pamphlet the son was given during the lesson, he said to her:
“Mommy, you’re wrong. Toy guns are OK. See, guns are OK, mom. See? It says so right here.”
Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says that the parents should have received notice about the program. Per school district policy, parents should have been given the option to opt out of the lesson if it went against their moral or religious beliefs.
In this case, no notice was given and thus no option to opt out of the program was presented. The mother laments:
“They’ve just undone seven years of parenting in one hour.”
She calls the program, which was created by the NRA, propaganda, but Vitti counters:
“[A]lthough the program was created by the NRA, its development was guided by education, public safety, and child development specialists.”
In a statement, Vitti points out that the program’s message — “Stop!; Don’t Touch; Run Away; and Tell A Grown-up,” — is meant to teach children a lesson in a non-intimidating way and which emphasizes safety.
Duval County Public Schools spokesperson Laureen Ricks also defends the program:
“The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program was chosen because its gun-safety message is packaged in an engaging and easily-relatable presentation that resonates with students. This is key because the safety of our students is one of our highest priorities. The program does not contain any messaging about gun ownership, use of firearms, endorsements, or political perspectives. Please note this is a voluntary presentation and parents may choose to opt their child out of participating. Too many children grow up not being exposed to gun safety.”
Vitti acknowledges that the school made a mistake by not giving parents an option to opt out of the program and apologizes for it. He asserts that going forward, he will ensure that parents are given that option.
Below is an example of an Eddie Eagle video: