Toy gun policy still under review

Hampden School's board of trustees is still evaluating whether to allow pupils to use toy guns in supervised pig-hunting role plays.

Last month, the board decided to review its decision to allow pupils to use the home-made guns in the playground once a week.

Board chairman Ian Carter, when contacted yesterday, said board members had met Kathryn Palmer, from the Ministry of Education, on Monday and explained the board's reasons for implementing the role play.

It was implemented on an educational basis and had structure to it, as opposed to "ad hoc cowboys and Indians", he said.

Senior Constable Bruce Dow, of Oamaru, did a firearms safety course at the school last week, not because of the issue, but because firearms had always been part of the school's health and safety curriculum, as children were exposed to them in the rural environment in which they lived.

Mr Carter said the ministry still stood by its statement that it did not support the use of toy guns in schools, but it had not said the school could not have them.

The board was comfortable with the ministry's position on the issue.

Ms Palmer, who is manager national operations, southern region, said she held "productive discussions" with the board.

The board assured her it had systems in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all pupils.

The ministry did not support children bringing toy guns to school.

However, schools were self-managing and were responsible for the day-to-day management of curriculum and play, she said.

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