D45 considers adding Scholastic Clay Target Sports

Some parents and students are hoping Barnwell District 45 will add Scholastic Clay Target Sports.

Scott Stephens, the Scholastic Clay Target Sports (SCTS) coordinator from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, spoke to the school board during the August 10 meeting about how SCTS is a growing sport in South Carolina. There are teams across the state, including at 14 public schools, 27 private schools and 30 clubs with several new teams being formed.

“The S.C. Department of Natural Resources Scholastic Clay Target Sports is a team-based youth development program that uses the shotgun sports of trap, skeet, and sporting clays to instill life skills such as discipline, safety, teamwork, ethics, self-confidence and other life values. The program utilizes these disciplines to teach hunting skills through the safe use of hunting equipment including firearms and their relationship to hunting situations,” according to www.dnr.sc.gov.

Stephens said SCTS is for students in sixth through twelfth grades, although they offer archery for elementary students.

“It is a very structured game and is among the most disciplined of all sports. It challenges the kids in different ways,” said Stephens.

SCTS provides opportunities for students to earn scholarships through DNR and other organizations that hold competitions throughout the year. DNR alone gives away $50,000 in scholarships annually.

He also believes it is a “super safe sport”. He explained the safety precautions they take, including how a coach is always within an arm’s length of students during practices and competitions. A DNR representative is also present. The sport would not take place on school property, but would instead be done on a supervised range.

“I strongly believe education is the key to firearm safety,” said Stephens.

“There is no joking around or horseplay,” said Scottie Sturkie, a parent who would like to be the coach for a Barnwell team.

Sturkie built a similar program at Jefferson Davis Academy a few years ago, which he said was successful. He is certified to lead the program, including through 4-H, and has two other parents who are certified and interested in coaching. With three coaches, they could have three squads of three students. Squads can be co-ed.

Superintendent Crissie Stapleton said she along with Barnwell High Principal Franklin McCormack and District 45 Board Chairman Dr. Rhett Richardson previously met with Stephens to discuss the program after parents and students expressed an interest in seeing District 45 implement a program. The presentation on August 10 was to inform all board members so they would have the information and be able to make a decision at a later date.

“We wanted them to understand what it is,” said Stapleton.

No action was taken.

In other news:

• The board approved the monthly personnel report, which included the hiring of Rachel Crosby and Michaela Mitchell as Barnwell Elementary teachers, Brittany Daniels as an early childhood coordinator at Barnwell Primary, and Stephanie Mead as a part-time community ambassador. The report also included the resignations of middle school teacher’s aide Maeshell Gordon, bus driver Queen Stephens, and middle school shadow Morgan Still.

• The board unanimously approved to release “Employee A” from their contract.

• They also unanimously approved to deny a request from “Employee A” for a grievance appeal.

• The board approved four student transfer requests for students to come to District 45 while denying another request.