Teaching Glocks and Shotguns in the Classroom

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In a public high school in southern Florida, guns are the subject of the day in one class. Moreover, in the lesson plan, gun control is addressed in terms of sight alignment, trigger control, stance, grip, and range safety rules, rather than some obscure political football.

Gun Safety Class

At Sarasota Military Academy, a publicly funded charter school in Sarasota County, Florida, the students are getting up close and personal with a number of modern firearms. While the school has long had an excellent small-bore rifle team the new class is something a little different.

An instructor who is also a county sheriff's deputy is teaching this gun safety class, which is not mandatory. In the class, students, who are also enrolled in JROTC, students get hands-on training in weapons nomenclature and manipulation with Glock handguns, Remington 870 shotguns, and other common modern firearms. At the end of the quarter, students live fire the guns under close supervision of firearms instructors and range safety officers.

Preparing youth

In an interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the headmaster of the academy said simply, ""I think it's pretty clear today's kids are going to come into contact with firearms at some point in their lives," ....With a class to better inform students, "The point is it will save lives in the future."

Sarasota Military Academy senior, Caitlin Sagirs, right, learns how to dismantle, reassemble and dry fire a Glock semi-automatic .40-caliber pistol during a gun safety course lead by Sarasota County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Olree, left, at the school on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Staff photo from Herald Tribune.

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, the school is a charter school founded in part by a local high school principal that saw how well the JROTC program worked. Set up as a non-profit, 501(C) 3 corporation, it does not charge tuition. Publicly funded through the same per-student funding as other schools in the district, it makes up its shortfall in fund raising programs. All qualified Sarasota and Manatee county 9th through 12th grade students are welcome to apply for admission and academic performance is measured through the same FCAT testing as in the rest of the state.

According to data at Trulia.com which compares thousands of high schools across the country, SMA did better on its FCAT test scores in 2011 than did the rest of the Sarasota County School District for grades 9, 10, and 11. The public charter school is listed with 820 students and 32 full time teachers, giving a student to teacher rating of 26:1. Of those 32, it would appear that at least ten run or assist with the JROTC program, which is campus-wide.

The military academy is set to expand with a middle school for as many as 600 more kids within the next year.

Good job SMA, and a hat tip to the Herald Tribune for breaking the story without spin.

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come in making schools that work.

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