News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012
WARRENVILLE, S.C. -- Aiken County deputies, K9 dogs and ATF agents are visiting elementary schools all over Aiken County as part of Project Ceasefire. They are talking to kids about gun safety, bullying and drugs.
They say it is an important lesson for kids to learn, especially gun safety. Many of their parents may have guns in their homes and they want to make sure the kids stay safe.
On Wednesday, Jefferson Elementary students are learned what to do if they see a gun.
"Stay away from them and stop and tell an adult," said third grader Kaydin Mabrey.
"They told me if I ever see a gun in public, don't touch it," added second grader Starr Jordan.
It's all part of Project Ceasefire.
"Project Ceasefire is a two part," said Sgt. Selwyn DeLoach with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. "Part of it is very aggressive criminal enforcement on firearm crimes. The second part of that is a lot of educational assets in the schools to try to teach the kids not to touch guns, not to succumb to bullying and not to allow that bullying to go into violence."
The Aiken County Sheriff's office is working with the ATF to try to stop the violence before it happens.
"Bullying is a major issue in schools and bullying leads to other issues with gun violence when the kids are either at school or when they leave school," DeLoach said. "Society now we really have to educate our kids that they have to make good choices because everything they do is gonna follow them."
They watched movies, answered questions and even got to play with Rick, the K9.
"They're most impressionable right now," said guidance counselor Erika Smith. "When they're older, I think sometimes they start to tune things out, but right now it's easy to get their attention and they look at law enforcement as sort of heroes to them right now and they look up to them a lot."
They say incidents of children accidentally picking up guns and injuring someone else or themselves happen all too often.
"It does happen quite a bit throughout the United States and we're trying to do our part to make sure our kids stay safe and know to make good choices," DeLoach said.
"Unfortunately, we do hear things like that and you have to make it a priority to talk about it with our kids," Smith said.
It's a reminder to kids that if there's a gun in their home, they need to stay away.
"So you don't accidentally pick it up and shoot someone," Mabrey said.
It was also a part of Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign to keep kids away from drugs. They visit elementary schools all over Aiken County each year. This is the first year they have really made a point to talk about bullying, what they say is a growing issue in schools.
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