Preschool taking heat for field trip to gun range


Parents contacted WSB-TV in Atlanta with concerns after a Georgia preschool took children on a trip to a gun range.

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The school said it was all part of a lesson.

Images of a first-grader and a second-grader handling firearms showed up on Facebook after the trip, which involved students from Holdheide Academy in Woodstock, Georgia.

WSB-TV contacted the school's owner, Tammy Dorsten, who on Friday night defended the trip.

"This was a wonderful learning experience with a safety class before and after the guns were handled," Dorsten said.

Dorsten said the children have been learning about sharpshooter Annie Oakley and folk hero Davy Crockett.

She said the gun range High Caliber Firearms has an 1894 rifle of the type that Oakley would have used. Dorsten said she decided to give the kids a hands-on lesson and parents approved.

Gun range owner Sean Jerguson defended the visit but when WSB-TV called it a field trip, he said, "When you say field trip, I don't know what that means. We've had a number of youth programs here. I wouldn't know how to define a field trip. We have a number of private and home-school groups come into the store."

"It was definitely a part of our Georgia-approved curriculum," Dorsten said.

Still, there's been plenty of blowback from parents and people from across the country. One person called the trip "unacceptable, irresponsible and dangerous.”

“I'm fine with everyone having their own opinion. I'm just so glad our children were able to have an educational experience,” Dorsten said.

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning released a statement that said, "We are currently investigating to determine what children were involved in the field trip and whether it is within DECAL's jurisdiction to take appropriate actions."