Hot Air posted an article today about a 12-year-old girl who is facing felony charges because she allegedly made a gun shape with her hand and pointed her finger at four students before pointing her finger at herself. Yes, you read that right.
The article reports:
Police hauled her out of school in handcuffs, arrested her and charged the child with a felony for threatening.
Shawnee Mission school officials said they could not discuss the case, citing privacy laws, but did say it wasn’t the district that arrested the child.
According to the Kansas City Star, the incident unfolded in a classroom at Westridge Middle School.
The person said that during a class discussion, another student asked the girl, if she could kill five people in the class, who would they be? In response, the girl allegedly pointed her finger pistol — like the ones many children use playing cops and robbers.
Because of that gesture, The Star was told, the girl was sent to Principal Jeremy McDonnell’s office, and the other students involved were also talked to. The school resource officer recommended that she be arrested, the source said. She was detained by police and later released to her mother.
It gets even worse. According to Star columnist Toriano Porter, there were two kids in the same school district who recently brought real guns to school that aren’t facing felony charges for their actions. Toriano Porter also states that pointing a finger gun at classmates and then yourself is a cry for help — not a criminal act of violence.
The article concludes:
I’m not even going to go so far as to say that this 12-year old was exhibiting a “cry for help.” She could have just been a 12-year old who wasn’t thinking that responding to a dumb question by a classmate was going to end up with her in handcuffs. What’s next? Arresting kids playing “Kiss, Marry, Kill” at lunch for making threats?
The 12-year old girl is now living in California with her grandfather, and will hopefully be able to put this incident behind her, but if the laws in Kansas need to be changed to prevent idiotic situations like this from taking place in the future, I hope legislators in the state will see to it that there are no more felony charges for finger guns in the future.
Did whoever decided to call the police on the child consider the emotional trauma to the child? If this was viewed as a cry for help, why did the authorities choose to make the child’s emotional situation worse? I know a lot of adults who played with toy guns and toy soldiers as children who grew up to be respectable non-violent citizens. The way this child was treated is totally unacceptable–and she didn’t even have a gun!