Twelve students at Rocky Bayou Christian School studied the history and current realities of the Second Amendment during a special “Jan Term” for high schoolers the last two weeks.
“You can’t just jump on one side, you need to understand the rationale,” said Josh Childers, one of the people teaching the class. “I’m just trying to show them that it’s not all about guns.”
Educators originally planned to have the students spend the first week of the course in the classroom and the second week applying their knowledge by firing rifles at a shooting range. But the plan changed at the last minute after school officials discovered their insurance company wouldn’t permit them to take students to a gun range without paying a hefty fee, said Rocky Bayou Superintendent Michael Mosley.
Rather than cancel the course, which had become so relevant since it was conceived last spring, administrators kept the first week the same and made the second week an outdoor survival course.
According to students in the class, they initially were disappointed with the change, but by the end of the first week they weren’t sorry they’d chosen to stay in the class.
“I didn’t know half the stuff that was going on,” said junior Josh Jarrell. “It definitely opened my eyes.”
Along with classmate Josh Hoskins, Jarrell said he’s actually taken time outside the classroom to listen to debates about gun control, especially in light of the trial of the man accused of shooting people in a Colorado movie theater lat July and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
“We can actually see the big picture,” said Hoskins, who added that they have learned the issue was neither black nor white, but cloaked in shades of gray.
One of the key points educators tried to get across in the course was a sense of personal responsibility.
“Was this amendment designed just so you guys could run around with really cool guns?” teacher Josh Childers asked the class during a recent review of the material.
The students all shook their heads no as Childers reminded them that “there has to be a great moral and spiritual responsibility.”
Childers said he and the students spent one day discussing not only the emotional toll of shooting another person, but what the physical reaction might be.
In spite of the difficulties they encountered with the insurance company, Mosley and Childers said it’s likely they will offer the course again next January because of the clear positive outcome it can produce.
“We don’t want kids at Rocky Bayou School to be part of the problem,” Mosley said. “We want them to be part of the solution.”
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Katie Tammen at 850-315-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KatieTnwfdn.