School that called the cops on a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome who made finger gun at teacher refuses to back down and says it did the RIGHT thing
- Six-year-old Margot made a gun gesture at a teacher in November last year
- Her mother Maggie Gaines was shocked when police were called to investigate
- School district stands by its decision to involve police in the incident
A school that called the police on a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome after she pretended to shoot her teacher with her fingers has refused to back down and claims it did the right thing.
The girl’s mother, Maggie Gaines, had accused Valley Forge Elementary School in Pennsylvania of mishandling the incident last November.
Her daughter Margot had become frustrated in class and pointed her finger at the teacher and said ‘I shoot you’.
The school contacted Gaines and told her it was district policy that they report the incident to the local police force.
Maggie Gaines is pictured above with her daughter Margot who was reported to police after she made a gun gesture with her fingers
Gaines explained the incident in an interview with CBS3, insisting that her daughter had no idea what she was saying was threatening
Gaines said administrators at Valley Forge Elementary School (pictured) overreacted by contacting police about her daughter when no one was ever in harm’s way
The school district has since told CNN that police didn’t create criminal or juvenile records for Margot and defended its decision to look into the case.
‘Requesting a police consultation allows agencies to confer and use the information they have to plan for appropriate supports.
‘It is not the same as making a police report and asking for an investigation.’
The school didn’t request a further investigation after it found that little Margot didn’t intend to harm anyone.
Despite the response from the school district, Gaines has now said that it went ‘too far’
Despite the response from the school district, Gaines has now said that it went ‘too far’ .
Gaines previously said that contacting police was a severe overreaction as it was clear Margot didn’t know what ‘I shoot you’ meant and was merely trying to convey her frustration.
‘She really didn’t understand what she was saying, and having Down syndrome is one aspect, but I’m sure all six-year-olds don’t really know what that means,’ the mother said.
The mother raised the issue publicly in a letter to the school board last month, saying that school officials are misinterpreting policy and state law.
Pennsylvania state Sen Andrew Dinniman, who was contacted by the Gaines family, also expressed concern with how the district handled the issue.
‘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 commonsense to weigh in,’ Dinniman said in a statement.
‘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.’
Last year Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill that requires school in the state to establish threat assessment teams, which in turn develop their own safety measures for pupils.