Parents have taken to Facebook to express their shock after a group of Year 3 pupils were taken to West Midlands Police and allowed to shoot targets with toy guns.
Pupils from a Birmingham primary school took aim on a firing range as part of a visit to the force’s firearms training facility in Aston.
The day out had been organised ‘as a thank-you to the pupils who’d written touching letters of support in recognition of the force’s efforts to keep people safe following the recent terror attacks’.
King Norton Primary deputy head Dawn Chapman said: ”After the awful events in Manchester and London, we were talking in class about how to stay safe and who protects us. Many of the children had said how they’d seen more police in Birmingham and officers carrying guns.
‘We wanted to stress to them that they shouldn’t feel scared and that the officers were there to keep people safe. It was a really good discussion and it ended with the children saying they’d like to write letters to the police to say thanks.
‘It was a lovely surprise for us to be invited to the police base and the pupils had a fantastic time, especially on the range and using the sirens and flashing lights − as you’d expect the noisy things proved particularly popular!’
But the day out itself came under fire online. Under a Facebook post shared by West Midlands Police, one person wrote: ‘Why? Which subject area does this cover? Since when did replacing cooking and gardening with shooting ranges become a life skill?.
Another wrote: ‘Not comfortable with these pupils practising shooting even if it’s with toy guns. Surely there were other ways to help them & not carrying weapons maybe?’
But the trip also got support from other parents. One wrote: ‘As a parent of one of the yr3 children who attended that day, thank you for taking the time out to spend with our children, normalise police presence and make them feel safer.’