PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Bloomington Public Schools will implement a new program to remind parents about safe gun storage at home in the 2023-2024 school year.

On Wednesday night, the District 87 School Board approved the Be Smart campaign that aims to raise awareness when it comes to storing guns at home.

What will this look like?

The District’s Director of Safety & Security, Richard Hirsch, said Be Smart presentations and letters will be included in the Bloomington school handbook next year.

“Parents will have to sign off saying they have read and acknowledged the content. This is not a gun control campaign, this is simply a reminder for parents to be cautious. I have a gun on me all the time, we just want to make sure they are not getting into the hands of our children,” said Hirsch.

The decision stems from concerns about gun violence in District 87 schools, said Hirsch.

A Bloomington High School student brand a loaded gun last year and was sentenced to juvenile prison.

“A national survey found that 57% of teens are concerned that there is going to be a shooting in their school. It’s a safety measure and if it just saves even one child’s life, it’s completely worth it,” said one concerned District 87 teacher.

She also mentioned four key findings from that survey done by the United States Secret Service.

  1. The perpetrators of school gun violence are students or recent graduates of the school.
  2. A majority of firearms used in school gun violence are obtained from the shooter’s home or the home of relatives.
  3. Access to unsecured guns also contributes to gun violence among children and teens.
  4. Policymakers should encourage a culture of secure gun storage by increasing awareness of secure storage practices.