Talking with a friend about a pink toy bubble gun got a five-year-old kindergarten girl in the Mount Carmel Area School District labeled as a terrorist threat, according to an attorney.
The incident occurred Jan. 10 while the girl was waiting in line for a school bus, said Robin Ficker, the Maryland lawyer retained by the girl's family. He would not identify the girl or her parents, but gave this version of events:
Talking with a friend, the girl said something to the effect “I’m going to shoot you and I will shoot myself” in reference to the device that shoots out bubbles. The girl did not have the bubble gun with her and has never shot a real gun in her life, Ficker said.
Elementary school officials learned of the conversation and questioned the girls the next day, Fickler said. He said the girl did not have a parent present during the 30 minutes of questioning.
The result, he said, was that the student was labeled a "terrorist threat" and suspended for 10 days, Ficker said. The school also required her to be evaluated by a psychologist, Ficker said.
"This little girl is the least terroristic person in Pennsylvania,” he said.
Ficker, who said he was contacted because the mother had read he handled a similar case in Maryland, suggested she ask the principal to expunge the record. That did not happen, but her suspension was reduced to two school days, and the reason for it changed to being labeled as a threat to harm another student.
“She’s branded,” Ficker said.
School district solicitor Edward Greco said Friday the allegations are being looked into but neither he nor school officials could discuss disciplinary actions. Greco and Ficker acknowledged they are trying to arrange a meeting next week to discuss the situation.
Ficker believes the girl’s record should be expunged and she be offered an apology.