A 13-year-old girl was arrested by a school resource officer at a Kansas middle school when she made a gun gesture with her fingers and pointed it at four classmates, officials said.
The youth was hauled out of Westridge Middle School in Overland Park in handcuffs and slapped with a felony charge for threatening.
School officials had reached out to police about the student using an online portal ‘which allows for reporting of safety concerns,’ cops said in a press release about the September 18 incident.
A source who spoke with the Kansas City Star explained the student was in class when she was asked by another child, if she could kill 5 people, ‘who would they be?’
In response, the student made the gun gesture with her fingers, and pointed it at four classmates, before then turning the pretend firearm on herself, the source said.
The gesture got the youth sent to Principal Jeremy McDonnell’s office. The other youths involved also were spoken to, the Star reports.
School officials reached out to police about the student from the Westridge Middle School (pictured above) using an online portal ‘which allows for reporting of safety concerns,’ cops said in a press release about the September 18 incident
The youth was then questioned by Shawnee Mission school district officials and the school resource officer.
‘The student, as well as another student, affirmed the actions which constituted the potential threat,’ cops said in the release.
‘The Police Officer, after interviews and consideration, arrested the juvenile and transported the student to an appropriate facility,’ police said.
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 the risk of causing fear, according to Johnson County District Court documents.
The finger gesture, similar to how children do the same when playing cops and robbers, got the youth sent to Principal Jeremy McDonnell’s office. The other youths involved also were spoken to, the Star reports. McDonnell is pictured above.
No additional details were provided about the child, due to her age. A school district spokesman said the decision to arrest the student was solely made by cops, and not school officials.
‘We don’t arrest students,’ district spokesman, David A. Smith, told DailyMail.com.
A hearing is scheduled in the juvenile division of the District Court of Johnson County next Tuesday, reports the Kansas City Star.
The girl, however, is no longer in Kansas, and is now living in California, said her grandfather Jon Cavanaugh.
‘I think this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand, Cavanaugh told the Star.
The child has no access to handguns and did not intend to cause harm, he said. ‘She was just mouthing off.’
Cops pointed out that the Westridge Middle School (pictured above) ‘has a policy regarding intimidation, bullying and actions that may be a threat’
Cops pointed out that the school ‘has a policy regarding intimidation, bullying and actions that may be a threat.’
‘Too often there are reports of violence in schools and inevitably questions about what could or done to prevent the tragedy,’ police said in the release sent to DailyMail.com.
‘Threats in schools are taken very seriously and treated appropriately,’ cops said.
Just last month, two 13-year-old boys were arrested for having guns in their backpacks at the Hocker Grove Middle School, which is also in the same school district.
Both were charged as juveniles in possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor. They face up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted.
Such a charge is upgraded to a felony ifthe alleged gun possession is committed twice. There had been no indication the youths planned a repeat, according to the school’s principal, the Star reports.
‘Ensuring the safety of everyone in a school, or community, is a top priority,’ said the department in its release, ‘and requires constant vigilance, parents reminding their children of proper behavior in school and an understanding by the public that each case is thoroughly investigated before any arrest is made and a charge filed.’