Controversial gun safety class will continue in high school
School board member questioned its funding
Last Updated: 111 days ago
OTAY MESA, Calif. - Dozens of high school students in San Diego's South Bay will continue learning about guns as part of an Administration of Justice program offered through the Sweetwater Union High School District.
For the past 13 years, a firearms safety course has been a minor component of a bigger program at Montgomery High School in Otay Mesa.
At the most recent Sweetwater Union school board meeting, trustee Pearl Quinones questioned whether it was appropriate to use state grant funding on the program in the wake of school shootings like Sandy Hook.
"Definitely, it's understandable," said district spokesman Manuel Rubio. "We're living in a world right now where you're hearing about gun violence."
Quinones was the lone dissenting vote. The rest of the board approved continuing to fund the program. She did not comment to 10News for this story despite multiple emails and phone calls.
George Sikes understood the knee-jerk reaction to the firearms course. The former San Diego police officer has been teaching it as part of the Administration of Justice program for 13 years. He said the gun safety class is only a small component of the overall program. He emphasized that it is a safety class.
"A very small essential tool of what law enforcement does… most police officers never shoot their gun and these kids need to understand that," said Sikes.
Rubio said, "These are students who are interested in protecting their fellow students, so we want to make sure that we put that out there for the community and that we're training our students in the right way."
The high school students who participate in the program all hope to one day have careers in law enforcement.
"I have students working in corrections, customs, Border Patrol, Coast Guard," said Sikes.
Students commit to the program before their sophomore year and must stay with it until graduation. During that time, they learn about the law, investigation and communication.
The course also includes a gun safety class. Students use a simulator in class. Then, they will visit a firing range off-campus their senior year.
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