In your article, "7th-graders firing guns in class," written by Elyse Hayes and Jennifer Toomer-Cook (Aug. 9), several Davis County public school and government officials expressed their concern about a class the goal of which is to teach seventh-graders respect for guns and the realities of police work.

Davis Education Association President Kathleen Leatham is quoted as saying that children handling guns in school is "wildly inappropriate" and "makes me sick to my stomach." "And if I were a student in that class, I would refuse to participate."

Later on Jane Muna, Centerville Junior High principal, states, "In my estimation, putting a gun in a student's hand would not be appropriate." Finally, Councilwoman Nancy Smith says, "When will a seventh-grader ever have a gun in his possession? . . . It's just not a real situation."

These statements all exhibit a refusal to recognize the value of properly educating children of the realities of gun use, and a refusal to acknowledge reality. Our children are handling guns and are doing so improperly.

Our failure to teach children respect for firearms at an early age is partly to blame for the shootings at public schools in recent years. We can only wonder that if these young killers had been taught the proper way to handle guns, would their classmates still be alive today?

This official attitude of forced ignorance will only serve to perpetuate the premature deaths of our children at the hands of their classmates.

Trenton Hansen

Pleasant Grove