Cease and desist order issued for preschool after gun-shop field trip
WOODSTOCK, Ga. (WGCL) — The state of Georgia has ordered a cease and desist order against a Woodstock school that took first and second-graders on a field trip to a gun shop that the owner of the facility called an “educational experience.”
Tammy Dorsten says she was just trying to give the first and second-grade students a history lesson when she took them to Hi-Caliber Firearms as part of an American History lesson. She says since the incident, her Facebook page has been flooded with criticism.
During a state investigation, the state said the academy was licensed as a private school for kindergarten through second grade. The investigation found the preschoolers were cared for in “an unlicensed space meant for a private school.”
Amy Jacobs, Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning issued this statement regarding the matter:
“Last Friday we began an investigation into Holdheide Academy, LLC, located at 5234 Old Highway 5 in Woodstock, Georgia. During this investigation we discovered that the program was caring for pre-school aged children in an unlicensed space meant for a private school. Today we are issuing a cease and desist order for this program. Meanwhile, our investigation continues into the licensed child care program. At DECAL, our top priority is the health and safety of our state’s young learners.”
The school came under scrutiny after posting pictures of children posing with guns. Online critics say the children are too young to handle the weapons, especially a picture posted that appears to be one child with their finger on the trigger.
CBS46 talked with Dorsten about the incident. She says the 6 and 7 year-olds were studying Annie Oakley and the guns were meant to give them a hand-on experience.
“It was a fantastic experience for them, and it was an education experience,” Dorsten told CBS46. “It’s such a same that every other kid doesn’t have the opportunity to have. Whether the girl was holding it correctly or not was not the point of the picture. The point of the picture was for her to feel the weight of that and realize what Annie Oakley would have done in an educational experience.”
Dorsten says parents were informed of the field trip and signed permission slips the day of the event.