Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Online Extras

January 18, 2013

Threat of using 'bubble gun' gets 5-year-old suspended

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. — A 5-year-old kindergartner who told classmates she was going to shoot them, and then herself, with her pink gun that shoots bubbles, was grilled for three hours by school officials without her mother’s knowledge, and then suspended.

The school categorized her actions as a “terroristic threat,” according to the kindergartner’s mother and confirmed by the family attorney. That suspension was later reduced to two days and labeled as a “threat to harm others.”

Mount Carmel Superintendent Bernard Stellar declined comment, saying it would be a breach of confidence and that he cannot discuss student discipline issues.

The alleged incident occurred Jan. 10, while the girl was waiting in a school bus line.

According to Robin Ficker, of Bethesda, Md., the parents’ lawyer, the kindergartner was playing with two friends and spoke about her Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, which shoots bubbles.

Ficker said the girl mentioned that she was going to shoot one of her friends and then herself with the bubble gun, so that they could all be together. Then, she was going to shoot herself again when she got home.

“This logic, which was not said in malice, came from the mind of this beautiful 5-year-old child who was playing with her friends, whom she hugs every day,” Ficker said.

Someone at the school became aware of the conversation and the next day, the little girl  was questioned.

The attorney said this is an example of how school officials have overreacted  since the shooting in December at an elementary school in Connecticut where 20 children were killed.

“You can’t make light of what happened to this girl either,” Ficker said. “The incident goes on her permanent school record.”

The girl’s mother said her daughter has been very upset since the incident. The 5-year-old expressed fears that she could be sent to jail.

Before being allowed to return to school, Ficker said, the girl had to undergo psychological testing from an independent practitioner.

Ficker is fighting to expunge the incident from the girl’s records. He did not rule out suing the school district.

Details for this story were provided by The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.

1
Text Only
Online Extras
  • Football helmets don't protect side of head from blows in tests

    Players using current football helmets aren't adequately protected against hits to the side of the head, which can lead to sometimes-lethal concussions and brain swelling, researchers said.

    February 18, 2014

  • b_tuesday_eisenhower_20110405sg3371.jpg Augusta National removes 'Eisenhower Tree' after ice storm

    A 65-foot tree named after the nation's 34th president on the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club was removed over the weekend after sustaining "irreparable damage" during an ice storm at the home of the Masters Tournament.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why marrying your equal can boost inequality

    Rich and poor Americans are slowly but surely staking out separate lives. Increasingly, they have been moving to different communities, and more frequently they are also marrying people of similar income and educational backgrounds. This is a phenomenon social scientists call assortative mating.

    February 5, 2014

  • credit-card-generic.jpg Hackers probably attacked companies beyond Target, report says

    Hacking attacks like those that siphoned credit-card data from Target and Neiman Marcus are probably part of an unprecedented assault on a larger number of retailers, according to a security company working with the government.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four ways to tell if Affordable Care Act is working

    We are now days into the health-care law's insurance expansion, which began at midnight on Jan. 1. And it is, alas, far too early to tell if the nation's new health-care reform is working.

    January 4, 2014

  • Antibacterial soaps must prove safety to stay on shelves

    Antibacterial washes would have one year to prove they're safe to remain in U.S. stores, part of a proposal by regulators to address 40 years of debate on overuse of germ-killing chemicals.

    December 17, 2013

  • iStock_000023490405XSmall.jpg Old-school toys dominate holiday lists

    There are two requests Don Mahoney, otherwise known as Santa Claus, keeps getting day after day: Barbies and Legos.

    November 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Gall-dindi.jpg Turkeys are funny-looking and tasty, but can they fly?

    Turkeys are an ungainly mess of a bird. Their bodies appear too big for their scrawny legs, and they are pocked with all manner of bizarre anatomical structures, including snoods (fleshy bumps on their foreheads) and a dewlap (that distinctive flappy wattle under its neck). But amazingly, the bird - at least in its wild form - can fly.

    November 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Man loses banana peel injury case, faces criminal charges

    It was the video that did him in.
    One night in early August, Maurice Owens was riding an elevator at a Washington Metro station when, he says, he slipped on a banana peel as he was getting off, injuring his hip and leg.

    November 27, 2013

  • 5 historical pioneers of social media: Martin Luther invented the listicle

    Before PSY blew up YouTube, before @Horse_ebooks became a Twitter superstar, even before the world discovered LOLcats, there was the apostle Paul - early Christian missionary, eventual saint and, it turns out, a pioneer of viral media.

    November 5, 2013