Feedback sought on draft firearm guidelines for schools

The Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association are seeking public feedback on draft guidelines for firearms in schools.

“We know there are differing opinions on schools allowing students to participate in activities involving firearms. There has also been considerable public debate on the appropriateness of firearms being bought into schools,” says Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary Sector Enablement and Support.

“It is clear that we need to provide guidelines so that schools can decide whether they will allow firearms on school grounds, and if so what that would look like.

We do not support unsupervised access of firearms in schools, but we do acknowledge that there may be legitimate circumstances where firearms may be part of students’ education and/or sporting activity.

While there are substantive health and safety guidelines for schools, and strict laws around the use and storage of firearms for all, there are currently no school-specific guidelines for firearms.

We’ve been working closely with New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), Police and the Sector Reference Group to develop draft guidelines.”

The guidelines will support school boards 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.

“We are now inviting schools, parents and communities to provide feedback on the guidelines,” says Ms Casey.

“It’s important that we take into account the thoughts of those most impacted by the use of firearms in school so we’re asking schools, students, parents and communities to provide feedback on the draft guidelines.”

Consultation opens today and closes Wednesday 11 April 2018. Feedback should be sent to healthandsafety.info@education.govt.nz

In May 2018, the Sector Reference Group will meet in Wellington to review feedback, draft a summary report, and make any recommended changes to the draft guidelines. Final guidelines will be published in July 2018.

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