School Board OKs trap shooting team

Fergus Falls Journal, Tuesday, February 26, 2013 – The Fergus Falls School Board voted unanimously Monday night to approve a sporting clay target team. But school board members also clarified where the team will be practicing and competing following concerns from the public.

School Board chairperson Melanie Cole said members of the public had expressed concerns to her like “Don’t mix kids and guns.” Because of that, she felt explanation was necessary. The clay targets location is at Lakes Area Shooting Center, located about three miles northwest of Fergus Falls in Fergus Falls Township.

School Board member Tarma Carlson added that the coaching staff is well trained. Ranae Edwards will be the team’s coach, assisted by her husband, Mike, and she said she has taught more than 500 students to shoot through the area 4-H program.

Most competitions will be in Fergus Falls, with results measured against students results at other ranges. Since gun safety is a high priority, if these kids are hunters too, safety will be a side benefit.

Superintendent Jerry Ness said students won’t be carrying around guns at school, and it does not change school policy regarding guns. The provider has been in existence since 2001 with no recorded safety issues. Ness also added that clay targets is the fastest growing sport in Minnesota, with 100 other districts offing it. It will be available to grades 9 through 12 only, with a 1 to 10 instructor/student ratio. All students must first go through gun safety training.

Ness said an independent provider means the school district will not subsidize the sport. However, for participants in clay targets to be part of the Minnesota State High School League, the activity must go through the school district.

Cole said there was a three-pronged process that the School Board went through when considering clay targets. First was a meeting with coaches where a presentation was made. Second, an advisory group approved the activity. Third, information was presented to the school board during their work session.