The state of Georgia has ordered a cease and desist order against a Montessori school because it took a group of first- and second-graders on a field trip to view antique firearms as part of a lesson about Annie Oakley and Davey Crockett, according to this story from cbs46.com.
The story says teacher Tammy Dorsten took the students, after securing parental permission, to Hi-Caliber Firearms north of Atlanta to get a hands-on experience about the kind of guns Annie Oakley used, namely an 1894 Winchester carbine.
“It was a fantastic experience for them, and it was an education experience,” Dorsten told the news station. “It’s such a shame that every other kid doesn’t have the opportunity.”
But, after after photos of the kids on the field trip, handling firearms, were posted online, the school came under intense scrutiny, especially because of a photo of what appears to be a child with their finger on the trigger of a six-shooter.
The images have since been taken down, but guns.com posted a screenshot, which you can see below.
The outcry led to an investigation by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, which found the school, Holdheide Academy, “was caring for pre-school aged children in an unlicensed space meant for a private school.”
“Annie Oakley is a part of our Georgia Approved curriculum encompassing Annie Oakley, Davy Crockett and Pecos Bill. Our goal was to show the students how difficult it was for Annie Oakley and others to accomplish all that they did,” Dorsten said in the guns.com story. “The students were able to see the distances that Annie Oakley used when selecting her targets and the presentation made it very clear why Annie Oakley was a famous individual and someone whom we are still learning about over 123 years later.”
Dorsten said in the story that the children were first given safety instructions before they were allowed to handle the firearms.
According to this story from wsbtv.com, 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.”