To: Evolve Education Group
Ban Pro-Gun education from pre-schools
Evolve Education, which runs 130 childcare centres plus the Porse and Au Pair Link home-based companies around the country in New Zealand, are introducing "child friendly" gun safety kits to their pre-schools, including toy guns, cardboard targets for play and "toy gun licences".
These kits, developed and sold by the New Zealand based arm of New York PR firm Y&R (formerly Young & Rubicam) should be banned from use or sale in pre-school immeadiately and withdrawn from any pre-school that has already taken delivery of them.
Why is this important?
At a time when the world is recoiling from the horrific school shootings and gun violence in the USA, it seems completely tone-deaf and irresponsible to be introducing pro-gun education into New Zealand pre-schools.
Proponents of Evolve's gun education approach state that this "does not promote guns." However simply through the act of introducing guns it inevitably does, and furthermore takes the choice about how and when chidlren interact with guns out of parents hands.
Simply put: introuducing children to guns from a young age (pre-school is under the age of 5) normalises guns. It is important that we recognise that starting to normalise gun ownership and gun use in New Zealand is completly uneccesary and can't be justifed in terms of teaching pre-school children about how to handle guns safely.
This campaign also confuses normal, imaginative gun play, with real gun safety. Children from a young age understand that play is not real, and this programme confuses that with real gun use and real gun safety that may in fact lead to, encourage more use of, and lead to a desire to play with, real guns.
There is only one way to ensure children are safe around guns. Keep them away from firearms until an appropriate age, and ensure adults (not children) are responsible for the safety of young people around guns.
The teaching of this course distorts that responsiblity.