This is terrible news for Texas Tech football fans.
A 12-year-old Overland Park girl formed a gun with her fingers, pointed at four of her Westridge Middle School classmates one at a time, and then turned the pretend weapon toward herself.
Police hauled her out of school in handcuffs, arrested her and charged the child with a felony for threatening.
Shawnee Mission school officials said they could not discuss the case, citing privacy laws, but did say it wasn’t the district that arrested the child.
“We don’t do that,” said spokesman David Smith. “That is not our job.” He said the role of the district police is “not to enforce the law but to keep kids and adults safe.”
A school resource officer, employed, by the Overland Park Police Department, would have handled the arrest, Smith said. The department said it could not discuss the case.
But according to Johnson County District Court documents, on Sept. 18, 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 just the risk of causing such fear.
The Overland Park Police incident report provided to The Star included no details of what happened, only the date, time and place.
A person familiar with a more detailed incident report spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity. The person said that during a class discussion, another student asked the girl, if she could kill five people in the class, who would they be? In response, the girl allegedly pointed her finger pistol — like the ones many children use playing cops and robbers.
Because of that gesture, The Star was told, the girl was sent to Principal Jeremy McDonnell’s office, and the other students involved were also talked to. The school resource officer recommended that she be arrested, the source said. She was detained by police and later released to her mother. A hearing in the Juvenile Division of the District Court of Johnson County is set for Tuesday.
“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand,” said Jon Cavanaugh, the girl’s grandfather in California, where the girl is now living. He said his granddaughter has no access to a real gun and she had no intent of harming anyone. “She was just mouthing off,” he said.
Smith said that in general, pointing a finger pistol might violate the district’s policy against intimidation and bullying. “I might not have anything in my hand but I might be so clear that the individual definitely feels threatened,” Smith said.
Following the many school shootings across the country, such as last year’s Feb. 14 mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many states have adopted zero-tolerance polices for bullying and threatening. School officials are sensitive to any gesture or language that could threaten the safety of students, teachers or school staff.