There has been a lot of discussion recently about how “gun free zones” at public schools and college campuses may actually serve to endanger students and faculty by prohibiting licensed and law-abiding gun owners to carry weapons to protect themselves and others.
In a quirky kind of way, a story out of Arkansas this week provides another example of an instance when a firearm could have had a practical and necessary application at a school, while also proving that sometimes there’s no substitute for a gun.
Take the situation faced by Huntsville High School agriculture teacher Jerick Hutchinson. On Friday, he was prepared to present a class on furbearers and a skinning demonstration to his students.
A parent of one of Hutchinson’s students graciously volunteered to supply a raccoon for use in the hands-on skinning and hide-preparation instruction.
Unfortunately, when the student presented the raccoon to his teacher before class, Hutchinson realized the animal wasn’t quite ready to be skinned. That’s because the parent had sent a live-trapped coon, like those often used to train hounds to tree.
Faced with an unusual predicament, the resourceful teacher decided to utilize the closest alternative to a firearm legally allowed on the school campus.
As news of Hutchinson’s skinning lesson and his method of ‘coon dispatching spread, both teacher and school began to take a little heat over the incident, mostly from people far removed from rural Huntsville, Arkansas, where hunting and trapping have been practiced for generations.
As a result, superintendent Lievsay told the Associated Press this week that Hutchinson has been instructed not to kill any more animals on school grounds and to provide school officials with more detailed lesson plans in the future.
Lievsay went on to defend the instructor, explaining that no students were present when he killed the raccoon.
“It wasn’t like he held a nail gun against the head of a cute little animal in front of the class,” he said, adding that Hutchinson is well liked and respected by students and faculty.
“He does a great job. The kids love him,” Lievsay said.