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Va. high school freshmen receive controversial ‘bloody’ shirts

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR) -- New students and parents were left puzzled and upset after a freshmen orientation at Colonial Heights High School.

Members of the class of 2017 received t-shirts that some say very closely resembles the cross hairs of a gun scope, with blood splattered on the front.

"I’m thinking, why's there a target on my daughter's shirt?" said parent Belinda Wray

She said it certainly wasn't at all what she or her daughter expected.

"When I un-folded it when I got home, I saw that there's a target here, a scope, and it looked like blood splatter and I was just like, ‘What!’” said her daughter Brianna Wray.

Others agreed and said “it looks like cross hairs with blood spatter all over it.”

“And with tragedies, you know with the schools throughout here recently, I can't understand why Colonial Heights would put this shirt on to students,” a father who wishes to remain anonymous said.

Colonial Heights schools superintendent, Dr. Joseph Cox quickly took action once he heard of parental and student concern about the images.

For about a decade the school has given incoming freshman a t-shirt to promote school pride.

"I can see both sides, I mean clearly I see what the company's trying to promote, excellence in education, but once again, we don't want the t-shirt to be a distraction,” said Dr. Cox.

"They left it open to be interpreted and I look at it as being a target on my child's chest,” said Wray.

A parent who contacted CBS 6 said that "my child cannot wear a hunting t-shirt with a shotgun and deer, but can wear this."

We took the shirt around, and asked people to interpret it for themselves. On first glance, the popular reception was shock and awe.

"It looks like a bullseye with gunshots,” said Melissa Kaylor.

An explosion of blood, explosion of blood--that would be my first thought, was blood, an explosion of it,” said Anna Heatherely.

We reached out to the company in California that makes these shirts for schools across the country, but have not heard back.

By mid-afternoon the superintendent called  to say the shirts will be recalled on the first day of classes on  Tuesday.

All incoming freshmen will receive new shirts, and must exchange the controversial one they were given.