Zero-tolerance rules sound great on paper but they quickly devolve into mindless bureaucratic stupidity. The case of one 12-year-old girl attending Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kansas, epitomizes this insanity.
On September 18, 2019, she held her hand in the shape of a gun, pointing it at four other students while saying bang, then repeating the same gesture to herself.
This was in response to the question, “theoretically, if she could kill any five people in the room, whom she would pick?”
When viewed absent any context, the 12-year-old girl’s actions could admittedly be seen as disturbing.
When her actions are observed in their full context, the school’s response – charging her with felony uttering criminal threats – is laughable.
Cue The Rutherford Institute and constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead, who provides free legal representation to those whose civil rights are threatened or infringed. The Institute is one of the most effective defenders of civil liberties in the United States, and I’ve long been a fan. [Click for a list of my past articles on their work.]
From The Rutherford Institute’s description of what transpired.
The incident arose during a classroom discussion at Westridge Middle School on Sept. 18, 2019, when a young girl was asked, theoretically, if she could kill any five people in the room, whom she would pick. The 13-year-old girl then pointed to four fellow students and herself, using her hand to mimic a “finger gun.” She was subsequently sent to the principal’s office, where the school resource officer recommended that she be arrested. With the principal’s approval, the school resource officer then took the girl outside, handcuffed and arrested her, transported her to a juvenile detention center, and charged her with a felony.
The school district refuses to back down and drop the felony charge.
This is problematic for the school district because, less than 30 days prior to the finger gun terror event, two 13-year-old students brought real firearms to school in their backpacks.
They were charged with misdemeanor offenses, not felony criminal charges.
In the minds of these school officials, kids bringing real firearms to school in their backpacks is no big deal. It’s the girl with her terrifying finger gun we must punish as severely as possible.
This young girl probably wishes she was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz right about now. Sadly, she is still in Kansas, surrounded by politically-correct nonsense.
Thankfully for this girl, John W. Whitehead and The Rutherford Institute are by her side, advocating for common sense to prevail.
Read The Rutherford Institute’s letter to Dr. Michael Fulton, Superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas.
If you support The Rutherford Institute’s work on this girl’s behalf, please donate today.
What do you think? Is this school and school district out of their minds? Or does this 12-year-old girl deserve a felony criminal record for pointing her finger and saying “Bang”?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Edward Gullickson says
why would the school teacher in act such a scenario and then call out the child for answering her question ??
i think there is more to this story than is being told .
Christopher di Armani says
The question was from other students bullying her, not the teacher. Sorry for not making that clear.
Andrey Piskunov says
HIGH SCHOOL 1957 vs 2016
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.
1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2016 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2016 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled – even though Johnny started it.
Jeffrey will not be in class, he disrupts other students.
1957 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2016 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping.
1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2016 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being spankedherself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking veranda.
2016 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.
Pedro fails high school English.
1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2016 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by a radical group. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files a class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from the basic curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed..
1957 – Ants die.
2016 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents – and all siblings are removed from their home. All computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee . He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2016 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.
Life is tough; it’s even tougher if you’re stupid.