ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The principal of Saluda Trail Middle School in Rock Hill is defending the decision to let students hold military weapons during a Veterans Day program at the school last week.
A parent complained after pictures of two students holding weapons were posted on the eighth grade school blog.
In each picture a member of the military is next to the student.
The parent thought, that in light of recent school shootings, it was inappropriate.
Principal Brenda Campbell disagreed.
"Those guns are completely no ammo. They had been checked out by the military themselves, who brought them into our school," Campbell said.
She said it was all part of a larger Veterans Day program, where students could learn military history and meet and talk with real members of the military and with elderly veterans.
"It is kind of hard to teach students about veterans, and the military, and the history of patriotism without there being some weapons involved," said Campbell.
One photo showed a girl holding a rifle. In another picture a boy is seated on the floor behind a machine gun.
Since the parent complaint, the pictures have been taken down from the blog by the school.
"We do that anytime we feel the complete message hasn't been secured," said Campbell, when asked why the pictures were removed.
She said the controversy over the pictures had resulted in people losing sight of what the Veterans Day program was really all about.
The Rock Hill School District did not indicate having any problem with the guns being handled by students, and Campbell said she planned to do the same thing next year.