Some have described it as ‘political correctness to the extreme’ and ‘unacceptable’. And rightly so.
A school in Philadelphia (USA) called the police after a 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome supposedly pointed a “finger gun” at a teacher and said, “I shoot you”.
At some point in most kids lives, they will plausibly end up doing the same sort of thing and whoever is on the receiving end of the “finger gun” will possibly deal with it the same way as most rationally minded adults.
Maggie Gaines told CBS Philly that her daughter, Margot, was in class at the Valley Forge Elementary School in November when she became frustrated with her teacher.
Young Margot then made the finger gesture and allegedly said:
“I shoot you.”
The school teacher then called the cops on the 6-year-old girl and insisted that the school launch a ‘threat assessment’ into the danger posed by the child. Who is six?
The district insisted that their policy directed they must contact the police for the action.
Gaines told CBS:
“They get this phone call, and I was fine with everything up until calling the police.
“And I said, ‘You absolutely do not have to call the police. You know, this is ridiculous.'”
“At that point,” Gaines said, “they went to the principal’s office, and it was quickly assessed that she didn’t even really know what she was saying.”
“They were asking her questions, and she was saying, ‘Oh, I shoot mommy,’ [and] laughs, or, ‘I shoot my brother.’
The principal asked young Margot:
‘Did you mean to hurt your teacher?’ And she said no, and it seemed like she didn’t even know what that meant.”
Although no action will be taken against Margot, her name will forever be a part of an official police report for ‘threats’ made and all because she pointed her finger at her teacher.
But where’s the common sense?
Did the teacher really think that her threat and actions constituted a full-blown investigation that needed the intervention of the police!?
The district was obliged to carry out an investigation which – wait for it – revealed that the finger didn’t cause harm to anyone and no one was put in harm’s way.
Gaines went public with her anxiety over the district’s policy to contact the police over such a trivial incident.
In a letter to the district, she said:
“She really didn’t understand what she was saying, and having Down syndrome is one aspect, but I’m sure all 6-year-olds don’t really know what that means.
“Now, there is a record at the police that says she made a threat to her teacher.”
Gaines also contacted Pennsylvania State Senator Andrew Dinniman regarding the incident, who, not surprisingly, shared in her concern and surprise at the apparent overreaction to it all.
Senator Dinniman released a statement which read:
“As a state senator, an educator, and a parent, I am concerned when I hear that such important decisions appear to be guided blindly by written policy or legal interpretation without those in positions of authority using their judgment, experience, and common sense to weigh in.
“Furthermore, I am alarmed that a school seems to be acting as an extension of the police department in promulgating data and records on children as young as kindergarteners.”
Following the issue going public, the district released a statement saying, in part:
“When an individual parent concern related to our school safety practices was brought to the attention of the District two weeks ago, we agreed to review those practices in the School Board Policy Committee meeting tonight.
“When developing the current practice, the District worked collaboratively with parents, law enforcement and private safety/mental health agencies and legal consultants to ensure our safety measures reflected considerable input from both our local community and experts in the field of school safety.”
But what do you think? Was the teacher’ right’ to take things as far as they did after being ‘finger pointed’ by a six-year-old child?
What would you have done? Let us know in the comments below.
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