Why Teach The Eddie Eagle Program

11roll2.jpgFederal officials estimate that there are over 200 million firearms in the United States. Studies suggest they're kept in approximately half of all households.

Whether or not a particular family owns firearms, chances are, neighbors and relatives do, making it likely that children will encounter a firearm at some point. From their earliest awareness, children are exposed to guns through cartoons, television shows and movies. They're curious about firearms, and may have developed inaccurate perceptions of what a firearm is and does.

Just as Smokey Bear teaches children not to play with matchbooks, Eddie Eagle teaches them not to play with firearms with a simple, memorable four-part plan:

If you see a gun: STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.

It is important for children to understand that only with a parent or with parental permission and adult supervision should a child be around firearms.

Teaching Grades Pre-K - 1st

Depending on the comprehension level of children, some terms may need to be explained. For example, children may not understand what is meant by the phrase "leave the area." The teacher is encouraged to discuss the concept of "area." It is the room, the house, the playground, the street corner.

If the children are not familiar with guns, it may be necessary to explain or show graphically what a gun is. Children may have seen people using guns on television. The teacher is asked to explain that guns on television are toys. People on television shows pretend to be shot and die. It's not real. In real life, in all cases, children must follow the above safety practices when they encounter a firearm. They must understand the potential harm that may occur if these safety practices are not followed. Guns are not toys.

Teaching Grades 2nd - 3rd

Young people in grades 2nd and 3rd are more prone to be curious about guns. They may have developed varying perceptions of fantasy and reality. Television and movies can distort their perceptions. Students at these grade levels need to understand that gun use on television is fantasy. This age group needs to know that guns are not toys and that showing off with guns is not cool.

Program Credits

The Eddie Eagle GunSafe®Program was created by a task force that includes educators, school administrators, curriculum specialist, urban housing safety officials, clinical psychologist, law enforcement officials and National Rifle Association firearms safety experts.

The Eddie Eagle Program task force included:

  • Skip Archibald, Superintendent, Marion County Schools, Ocala, FL
  • James Chandler, Executive Director, Missing Children of Greater Washington
  • Dottie Chaney, Member, School Board, Anne Arundel County, MD
  • Phil Dean, Principal, Baker Intermediate School, Monrovia, MD
  • Betsy Fleming, Coordinator, Health Issues, Anne Arundel County Schools, MD
  • Sgt. Robert Hoelscher, Crime Prevention Officer, Miami, FL
  • Tom Holton, Supervisor of Physical Education, Driver Education, and Safety, Marion County Schools, Ocala, FL
  • Lt. Rodney Hoops, San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, Highland, CA
  • William Hull, Principal, Back Creek Valley Elementary School, Edgesville, WV
  • Bill Kolb, Assoc. School Administrator, Reseda, CA
  • James Langston, High School Teacher, Crystal River, FL
  • Dave Luke, NRA Staff, Port Richey, FL
  • Stanley McFarland, Executive Director, National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators
  • Sally Meyer, Coordinator, Kindergarten and Early Childhood Programs, Anne Arundel County Schools, MD
  • Steve Moore, Director of Support Services, Boy Scouts of America, Jacksonville, FL
  • Don Mooreland, Sheriff of Marion County, FL
  • Dr. Philip Patros, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia, CT
  • Ray Pecuch, Coordinator, School Safety Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA
  • James Phillips, NRA Instructor, Homosassa Springs, FL
  • Dr. Nancy Pywell, Department of Forestry, State 4-H Coordinator, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Spencer Sartorius, Administrator, Health Enhancement Division, Montana Office of Public Instruction, Helena, MT
  • Arthur A. Serrian, School Administrator (retired)
  • Hon. Hale Stancil, Circuit Judge, Marion County, Ocala, FL
  • Donna Baker Stevens, Manager, NRA Firearms Safety Education Department, Washington, DC
  • Gary Stewart, Director of Public Works, Ocala, FL
  • Taya Sun, Director, Public Safety and Prevention Programs, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago, IL
  • Jerry Wallace, Coordinator, Safety Education, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, TX
  • Scott Whitesell, Family Therapist, Community Risk Center, Montgomery County Health Department, MD
  • Frank Wilkinson, Special Education Teacher, Carl Sandburg Leaning Center, MD
  • Mary Beth Williams, School Social Worker, Falls Church City Schools, VA
  • Fraida Zusman, Elementary Reading Specialist, Prince William County School District, Springfield, VA