A 12-year-old Kansas girl was handcuffed and arrested at school after it was reported that she held her fingers in the shape of a gun and pointed at fellow classmates. The tween was not only removed from the school in handcuffs but she was subsequently charged with a felony.
Johnson County District Court documents state that 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, lockdown or disruption in regular, ongoing activities …” the Kansas City Star reports.
A source told the paper that the girl who was arrested was asked during a class discussion by another student who she would kill if she could kill five people in her classroom. She responded by making the finger gun and pointing it at students. The source says the girl was sent to the Principal the following day and that the school resource officer recommended she be arrested.
“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand,” Jon Cavanaugh, the girl’s grandfather told The Star. “She was just mouthing off,” he said.
Buzzfeed reports that after the incident in the classroom, several students reported the incident on the Shawnee Mission School District’s website which has a form that allows one to anonymously report bullying. Principal Jeremy McDonnell interviewed some students before then contacting the school resource officer.
“[The officer] then determined that several of the students are genuinely fearful of this girl, and combined with prior knowledge that he has, felt that an arrest was warranted,” Overland Park Chief of Police Frank Donchez told BuzzFeed News.
Vanessa McCaron, the girl's mother told the Kansas City Star that she pleaded with the school resource officer not to arrest her daughter.
"He said, ‘I will press charges against anyone who I think has broken the law,’” said McCaron. “He had such a great opportunity to use his badge to change something in a child, but he chose not to,” she added. “I think this is an insane abuse of power." She went on to defend her daughter saying, "She is a child. She is kind. She’s loving. She’s shy. She is a precocious kid who is passionate about gun control, human rights, and cats. That’s what she cares about.”
She also added that her daughter has been subjected to bullying for months and added that the boy who asked her about who she would kill was one of her bullies. McCaron also said she felt that disciplinary action was in order, but a felony arrest was going too far. “She is absolutely anti-guns,” her mother told the paper. “She posts about gun control on Facebook. We have no guns in our home," she said before commenting on her daughter's arrest. “I could see maybe a good round of counseling. But geez, handcuffs?”
JoCo girl arrested for pointing finger gun in class was a victim of bullies, mom says https://t.co/PFVKMJCIcr— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) October 13, 2019
The mother added that her daughter has been having difficulties dealing with the arrest. “She is having a really hard time talking about it,” McCaron said. “She feels like rules were made to protect people and wants to know why the rules — against bullying — failed to protect her.” She said she spoke with her daughter about the severity of her actions and “about what she did and the implications about what she did. I told her that there are shootings every day and it is a scary time. She said that what she did is dumb. I’m just sorry she has to go through all this.”
The Star also noted that just last month two 13-year-old students brought actual guns to their Shawnee Mission district’s middle school and as a result were charged as juveniles with the misdemeanor of possession of a firearm.