SCOTTSDALE, AZ - "My daughter participated in it about eight years ago but times have changed," said the mother of a current Desert Shadows seventh grader.
This Valley mother is speaking out tonight after her son was sent home with an assignment centered on the reenactment of the civil war.
"They require kids to build their own weapon, so build and create a lifelike weapon that looks like from the civil war," said the mother.
She says each 7th grader at Desert Shadows Middle School was sent home with these diagrams and pictures of Civil War-era guns and swords.
According to the rubric, the more authentic, the better the grade.
"We shouldn't be teaching kids, one, how to build weapons in this day and age, especially as we're worried about kids safety, school violence," said the mother.
She says the project culminates with a battle at a nearby park where students pretend to kill each other.
"It's irresponsible as parents, as school attendants, and as lawmakers to allow this type of behavior to happen," said the mother.
But not everyone agrees.
Many folks we talked with today told me it's time to stop over-protecting our children while others can certainly see where this mother is coming from.
Paradise Valley School District officials issue this statement today:
Since 2004, Desert Shadows Middle School has held a Gettysburg reenactment as part of the 7th grade social studies curriculum, which requires students to be familiar with key battles and people of the Civil War.
As part of the assignment, students choose a name of a Civil War soldier who fought at Gettysburg and are given the choice of which Civil War era item they would like to recreate. This includes an uniform, regiment flag, a reenactment muskets or a reenactment officer sword.
All replica swords and muskets are made entirely of wood with the assistance of a parent who has woodworking skill. These items are brought to the school covered in a beach towel or a garbage bag and are collected at the gates upon arrival to the campus.
Parents are invited to attend the culminating activity to participate in a large-scale production of the battle involving more than 450 students.
During this reenactment, every effort is made to ensure the safety and well-being of students, staff and parents. In the past, members of the Phoenix Police Department and Phoenix Fire Departments have also attended the event.
PVSchools is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
In light of the events that occurred on Sunday evening, Desert Shadows Middle School’s Site Council, which is a committee of parents, teachers, students and community members, will meet to review this year’s Battle of Gettysburg reenactment.The School Site Council meetings are open to all parents to attend.
But, at this point, this parent isn't sold.
"They should have other alternative ways to be able to get their message across and teach our kids without promoting violence," the woman said,