Wooden Gun In Philly School Shows Need For Real Gun Education

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

A shop teacher in Philadelphia is under fire from parents after he apparently helped a student craft a wooden gun in class. Charlez Scott found the wooden gun at home as his son was putting some cosmetic details on it. Scott says he doesn’t let his kids play with toy guns, and he’s ticked that his 14-year old was allowed to make one at school.

The Philadelphia School District acknowledges a complaint was made on Oct. 4 against a carpentry teacher at Austin Meehan Middle School who allegedly allowed a student to produce a wooden weapon in class. Per the district’s policy, “any weapons, including simulated, replica, toy or look-alikes are prohibited from all school property.”

Scott said of the teacher, “He’s an adult, he has a strong responsibility over those children. Do the same thing for him. Hold him accountable for what he did.”

Other parents weighed in, and many are concerned after this week’s lockdown following a second shooting near a school.  The latest one was just blocks away outside Lincoln High School. 

“A teacher let him do it in school. It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right,” one parent told Eyewitness News.

“That’s definitely bad,” another parent said. “Why would a teacher help make a gun? It’s stupid.”

Scott says he’s worried that if his son had completed painting the wooden gun, a cop might have mistaken it for the real thing. I can understand his concern, but I also think it’s a little misplaced to put all of the responsibility on the teacher here.

No doubt the shop teacher made a mistake. If he helped the student turn a wooden block into a wooden Glock, that would appear to violate the school district’s policy.

But with all due respect to Mr. Scott, it sounds like at least one of his kids is really interested in firearms despite (or maybe because of) his attempt to make them taboo. And while Scott may want some accountability for the shop teacher, I hope he’s willing to help give his son an education in real gun safety.

Philadelphia is on pace for an all-time high number of homicides. The city had 499 killings last year, just one murder shy of the record, and right now the city’s about 14% ahead of last year’s pace. There is no doubt that the city is a violent place, and I don’t blame Charlez Scott at all for worrying about his kids getting caught up in it. But Scott’s son’s school project should be a reminder that he’s not going to be around to watch over his son all of the time. It would be good to instill some knowledge about firearms in his son’s mind now so that he can remove the curiosity factor under the watchful eye and helpful tutelage of an experienced instructor.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any information about a JROTC rifle program at the middle school Scott’s son attends, and it looks like the city’s schools may not have rifle programs either (which wouldn’t be a shock, given the anti-gun attitudes entrenched in the city’s politics). Scott may have to head to a local range to help his son get some education and training, but I would encourage him to do so. If he’s showing an interest in firearms, it’s much better that he get a proper introduction than picking up habits and attitudes from social media and the streets. In fact,

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET