OVERLAND PARK, KS – In an era of high profile school shootings and the associated anxiety, reactions to something as seemingly innocuous as ‘finger guns’ can be exaggerated. That’s what a 12 year old middle school student found out after police hauled her off from school and charged her with a felony for pointing and ‘firing’ her finger at four of her friends.
From the Kansas City Star:
“[…] according to Johnson County District Court documents, on Sept. 18, the girl “unlawfully and feloniously communicated a threat to commit violence, with the intent to place another, in fear, or with the intent to cause the evacuation, lock down or disruption in regular, ongoing activities …” or created just the risk of causing such fear.
The Overland Park Police incident report provided to The Star included no details of what happened, only the date, time and place. […]
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. A hearing in the Juvenile Division of the District Court of Johnson County is set for Tuesday.
“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand,” said Jon Cavanaugh, the girl’s grandfather in California, where the girl is now living. He said his granddaughter has no access to a real gun and she had no intent of harming anyone. “She was just mouthing off,” he said. […] “I’m really worried about my granddaughter’s future,” Cavanaugh said. He said he was told the child could face as much as a year at a juvenile detention center.”
This is one of a long line of kids this age and younger getting arguably over the top punishments as a result of everyone being on edge about shootings. Suspension is one thing, but charging a 12 year old with a felony that will mar their record and maybe even a year in juvenile detention for pointing finger guns is beyond the pale.
Read exactly what the girl did that led to her arrest here.