Tammy Dorsten, owner of the Holdheide Academy in Woodstock, Georgia, found herself the target of social media outrage after taking the kids of her school to a firing range for a field trip. Now, Dorsten is responding to the criticism, according to Inside Edition.
All parents had signed permission slips for the trip, which was later posted about on Facebook.
“Our elementary students have been learning about Tall Tales in American history, so today was Annie Oakley day! We got to hold a Winchester Rifle which was hand crafted in 1894 which was very similar to Annie Oakley’s 22 rifle!” wrote the school in a since-deleted status which included pictures of children holding firearms.
“The field trip was about ancient artifacts that were found in American history, found in the curriculum they were studying,” said Dorsten. “This was simply an artifact that was taken out of the case... the kids were able to look through the [guns’] sites and see the difficulty Annie Oakley would have had to shoot a card 25, 50 yards away.”
The school faced criticism immediately, with some people calling the police to report the incident.
Bright from the Start: The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, a state government agency, received numerous complaints as well, later saying that the school found “that the program was caring for preschool-aged children in an unlicensed space meant for a private school."
“On Monday we issued a cease and desist order for this program," the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning said in a statement. “Meanwhile, our investigation continues into the licensed child care program.”
“At the end of the day, this is just so crazy because it was just an artifact that happened to be at a local business and I took the kids to see that artifact,” added Dorsten, who says she's received death threats over the trip. “Never in a million years did I think [I would face backlash] ... I thought it was a great field trip; the kids were thrilled. It’s just crazy [the backlash] we’ve gotten when we had parental permission. Had they had said no, I would never have overstepped that boundary. You would’ve thought I gave them Uzis and they were shooting polar bears."
“I stand in the truth that we do great things for kids and we’ll continue to do great things for kids,” she concluded. “We all have these children's best interests at heart. That’s what should be focused on.”