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St. Louis Public Schools, Confluence Academies to add gun safety lessons to curriculums

So far in Phase One, school leaders have distributed more than 250 free gun locks to parents for gun safety inside the home.

ST. LOUIS — Students who attend St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) and Confluence Academies public-charter schools will soon have access to gun safety resources inside the classroom.

Both school systems announced a new effort to help end child gun violence throughout the city on Wednesday.

School leaders told 5 On Your Side they would move into the second phase of their gun safety partnership to implement lessons inside the classroom.

 5 On Your Side has tracked 106 shootings with juveniles under the age of 18 in the City of St. Louis since the beginning of 2022 as of Oct. 18. Thirteen of those incidents have been fatal.

“We do as educators see this as a crisis in our community,” said Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, CEO of Confluence Academies.

“It’s a fight. It's kids in danger and what can we do as educators do to get them out of danger,” added George Sells, director of communications for SLPS.

So far in Phase One, school leaders have distributed more than 250 free gun locks to parents for gun safety inside the home.

That effort was strategically placed in the spring before students were let out for summer break and they would spend more time with parents and caregivers.

Dr. Carter-Oliver stated dialogue will be at the forefront and the new curriculum is an opportunity for students to explore their role in eliminating gun violence.

“It's going to look like some literature and being able to share some information in terms of questions to ask. It's going to look like using social media platforms and some tangible items” she said.

"We're educators. That's what we do best. Having kids in school, having material in school is probably going to be the most effective thing we can do," Sells continued.

Leaders said the gun safety initiative is an ongoing effort and “what we'll do is of course work in concert with parents and teachers, counselors, social workers, as we get feedback."

Dr. Carter-Oliver also made clear that parents were supportive of the push to end the violence and the schools' partnership from the beginning. 

The gun safety curriculum is slated to roll out this semester in the 68 schools between the two systems.

Sells said leaders would work with staff to build the materials to make sure content suits each class level.

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