Firearms policy guidelines now available

Issue: Volume 97, Number 14

Posted: 13 August 2018
Reference #: 1H9jwp

The guidelines were released on 30 July 2018 and have been developed in consultation with a range of education sector representatives and subject matter experts*.

Ministry Deputy Secretary Sector Enablement and Support, Katrina Casey says the guidelines have been shaped through consultation with experts but also with wider public feedback.

“Earlier this year we released draft guidelines and asked people for feedback on them. We received feedback from 86 individuals and 22 organisations covering a wide range of opinions,” says Ms Casey.

“This feedback greatly assisted the Schools’ Health and Safety Sector Reference Group in shaping the final guidelines. As a result the guidelines now include considerations around health, student wellbeing, and lead poisoning.

“We don’t support the unsupervised access of firearms in schools. However, we do acknowledge that there may be legitimate circumstances where firearms may be part of students’ education or sporting activities.”

Current legislation allows firearms in schools under strict conditions. These guidelines are designed to support schools to have the correct policy and processes in place. The guidelines are based on two principles:

Principle 1: All schools are required to provide a lawful and safe physical and emotional environment for students and staff. A safe and lawful environment for students and staff is of paramount importance and therefore must be the primary concern when applying the guidelines.

Principle 2: Parents/caregivers, students and the public will have a valid expectation that schools will develop a written policy and procedures to cover circumstances where students are involved in activities relating to firearms and that they will advise parents/caregivers accordingly. Schools must be mindful of these expectations.

The guidelines will support boards of trustees to understand their roles and responsibilities; ensure they meet their obligations under the Arms Act 1983, Arms Regulations 1992 and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
and clarify situations when firearms are permitted in schools and the processes that must be followed.

The guidelines do not impose or recommend any measures that are outside of the scope of current legislation (eg banning of sponsorship, antique auctions in school halls or rabbit/possum hunt school fundraisers).

The guidelines are designed to help schools consult with their community, review their current policies and procedures or to develop a new policy.

*The New Zealand Schools’ Trustees Association, the police and the Schools Health and Safety Sector Reference Group (which includes AIMS, APIS, APPA, NKAI, NZPF, NZEI, NZSSPC, SEPA, SPANZ, TKKM, ERO, Ministry of Health and WorkSafe).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 13 August 2018

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