Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A Georgia private preschool is facing criticism from parents and a possible investigation by state officials after taking young children on a field trip to a gun range.
The owner of Holdheide Academy in Woodstock, Ga., defended the trip, which included two students ages 6 and 7 who were photographed holding unloaded guns at the Hi-Caliber Gun Range. The school posted the photos online, sparking outrage from gun control advocates, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The school's owner, Tammy Dorsten, said the trip was a "wonderful educational experience." She said the students who attended had permission slips signed by their parents.
Dorsten said the trip was meant to enrich curriculum mandated by the state about historic figures such as Annie Oakley, Davey Crockett and other historical figures for whom guns were an everyday part of life. Dorsten said she booked the trip after the students made comments about about being a sharpshooter was easy, and wanted them to see that it was not.
Dorsten said the instructor took the students through a basic firearm safety course, showed them how far a bullet can be fired and let them hold unloaded guns to show the pupils how heavy they were. They were also allowed to hold bullets.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning said it received complaints from parents at the school and is investigating "to determine what children were involved in the field trip and whether it is within DECAL's jurisdiction to take appropriate actions."