Pennsylvania Teachers Call Police On Six-Year-Old Girl Who Pointed Finger Gun In Class

We have yet another insane application of the “zero tolerance” policies that schools continue to apply despite widespread condemnation. Valley Forge Elementary School is the latest educators to traumatize a harmless child in the name of protecting themselves and their school. The victim this time is a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome who pretended to shoot her teacher with her finger. The teacher apparently went into full alert with the school to protect herself from make believe bullets fired by a toddler from a make believe gun. The police were called and the Margot Gaines now has a police report as a victory for zero tolerance policies nationwide.

We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (herehere and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here). Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Various criminal and disciplinary cases were opened for finger guns. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversal, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child.

The latest case happened in November when Margot made the common motion with her fingers. The Tredyffrin-Easttown School District immediately went into high alert and called for a “threat assessment” before Margot moved down teachers with her finger gun.

Her mother explained that her daughter sometimes used such mannerism as a way of expressing anger. Yet, the school district insisted on calling in the police.

The matter is under review but, if history is any measure, no teacher or administrator will be fired or even disciplined. In the zero tolerance world, only children are harmed.

114 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Teachers Call Police On Six-Year-Old Girl Who Pointed Finger Gun In Class”

  1. Fire the teacher. Fire the cops. Or fire a nun at them if you know what I mean jelly bean.

  2. It reflects quite poorly on police when they react to this nonsense as though it’s reasonable instead of chastising the “adults” in the room who call them for such preposterous political nonsense. But now the kids that we tossed to the Leftist wolves for “education” are becoming leaders, educators and cops. I guess you reap what you sow.

  3. What was the teachers name. How she get’s a free ride. Accuser must face the accused. On the other hand she could give Pelosi a run for her money as bonehead of the year,

  4. many years ago, maybe decades, RUSH LIMBAUGH predicted this would come to pass. in exact words. he said one day if they keep this up, they will punish a kid for making a finger gun!

    and so it’s happened. See why he got the medal?

    aggression is part of human nature, indeed, a necessary part. for the survival of the individual.
    the idea it can be totally drummed and programmed out of people is a bad one.

  5. “no teacher or administrator will be fired or even disciplined”

    Sadly, under the democrat Governor, who is trying to “Vriginiaize” Pennsylvania, this is totally true. Sanctuary Pa. gun counties in 3, 2, 1……….

  6. Absurd is right. You want to see more absurdity check out the “New Way Forward Act” that is being put forward…. check the fine print on this beauty if you want to see absurdity.

  7. If one Sheriff would place the teacher & the Administrators, that called in this type kid, & place them under a 2 week mental health hold at a physc ward that’d put a fast end to this type crap.

  8. There’s more to this story. The teachers didn’t call the police – didn’t think it was a legitimate threat, but they did take her to the principal’s office, where it became increasingly clear that the child wasn’t at all serious, and didn’t really understand the “seriousness” of her behavior. Still the administration decided to call the police, I suppose just to follow protocol.

    And that’s the thing, a lot of this comes from the top down. Over the last few decades schools have become increasingly liable for student behavior. Schools can even be sued for student behavior outside of school hours and off school property. There’s a lot of pressure to take everything seriously so you don’t lose your job. The proper documentation and referrals need to be made.

    1. Also, calling the police is not necessarily bad.

      A police presence on school grounds can be very positive. It’s not like the officer is going to handcuff and mace the child. He or she probably spoke to her very calmly and kindly and explained why it’s not appropriate to pretend to point a gun at the teacher and say, “I shoot you.”

      1. I’m going to wager that an elementary school in and exurb of Philadelphia is not one that would benefit much from posting a sheriff’s deputy.

        What you’re telling me is that it’s another instance of the compliance people (in this case, the GC in the superintendant’s office) making the world worse.

      2. It’s an waste of the police time, and it’s outrageous to call the police on a toddler, especially without her parents present.

        1. “It’s an waste of the police time,”
          Not necessarily.

          All the districts I know of have a very good relationship with the police. Officers often take a drive through when they’re passing by and have the time. They’re frequently invited to speak during certain assemblies, and for things like career day. I think the belief is that having them around makes the school safer for any number of reasons.

          1. Em,

            There is something very wrong with your thought process.

            I’ve been advising people with young kids/kids to get the hell out of public schools, run, don’t walk.

            (Boys with peckers in the girls locker rooms…. get the hell away from the kids you Phin Prevs!)

            And that’s to get away from people that think like you.

            Maybe you should consider going back to West Europe, a group of wack job administrators most of us fled generations back.

            & now it seems you’ve followed us here.

          2. Em,

            Maybe I’m on a bit of a hair trigger & over reacting towards you.

            Regardless, the whack job administrators at the public schools have been getting progressively worst over the decades & it’ll be stopped by the citizens/parents/grand parents.

          3. Nope. That’s absurd. You should hope the cops aren’t busy doing the teacher’s job scolding a retarded child for making a finger gun when YOU call them because you’re being raped or robbed. Use an ounce of common sense. Should cops show up to help grade quizzes too?

      3. Just as a hunch I think maybe it’d be better that young kids 1st experience/ impression with police offices is that they are friends that are there to help instead of Gestapo Punisher that they should fear.

        1. Oky1,

          I actually do think this particular case was a clear example of some bad decision making. At MOST, someone should have called mom and said, “Just an fyi, here’s what happened in class today.” Really what the teacher or an aide should have done is just talk to the child discreetly, and say something like, “I know you’re frustrated, but next time instead of pretending to shoot the teacher, I’d like you to raise your hand and say, ‘I need help,’ okay?”

          My point was that sometimes teachers and administrators find themselves doing stupid things because of inflexible rules and procedures forced upon them from outside. Obviously that’s not always the case.

          As to the police officer, I maintain that while it’s possible to misuse a police officer’s time, to their credit, an officer involved simply does not allow that time to be wasted. The officers I’ve seen up close responding to calls from the school have without exception been extremely professional, gentle and kind, and everyone present benefited from her/his presence. I’m only speaking from my personal experience, though.

          If other’s have had different experiences, I’d be interested to read them.

          1. At MOST, someone should have called mom and said, “Just an fyi, here’s what happened in class today

            That you would entertain the idea pretty much discredits everything you’ve said.

          2. My point was that sometimes teachers and administrators find themselves doing stupid things because of inflexible rules and procedures forced upon them from outside.

            I believe your comments stem from good intentions. While I believe this particular point you’re making may be accurate, the teachers are not victims here. They are members of a union that demands obedience and they comply, willingly or unwillingly. Why? Because the stress, strain, nonsense, etc. they endure is not enough to force them to abandon their passion to teach and of course the compensation package they receive; with an emphasis on the latter. Job security is nearly impossible to lose. And once out of the classroom and into the administration arm, those comp plans become irresistible.

            This model mirrors our government bureaucracy. Once in, it is nearly impossible to get them out. All paid by taxpayers who do not yet realize the Teacher’s Unions and the AFGE union for federal employees have more lobbying power than the citizens themselves.

      4. While police waste their time with this UTTER nonsense, real criminals are hurting people in the streets. Especially in Leftist enclaves where mass Islamic “refugee” resettlement is prominent and where so-called “sanctuary” municipalities release violent illegal alien criminals back into the population. Calling the cops for such absurdity is absolutely “necessarily bad.”

    2. “Schools can even be sued for student behavior outside of school hours and off school property.”

      This kind of thing has gotten out of control over the past 40 years. Civil and criminal courts are finding fault with people and institutions who “encouraged” the act by negligently failing to see it coming. And to add on more absurdity, the act itself doesn’t have to involve direct harm to an actual victim.

      That tends to happen when you have a country that houses 70% of the world’s lawyers.

      1. “This kind of thing has gotten out of control over the past 40 years.”

        I couldn’t agree more.

        I know teachers who refuse to have any kind of social media accounts because they were told that parents can hold them responsible for student behavior on shared platforms such as facebook or twitter.

  9. While the school and a six year old happen to be the format for this one, it still has to be acknowledged that the police are involved as well. They appear to have no complaint about spending their time this way. While some exceptions are necessary, once you take away the requirement of providing direct harm to an actual victim, the government tends to become unmoored from reality.

    And laws become a mechanism for someone’s favorite theory about a societal ill.

    1. They appear to have no complaint about spending their time this way.

      No clue why you think that.

      1. The more “crime” the more police we need, and the more budgetary resources for the government department involved..

        If I worked in a government department, I would want as many reasons as possible for my indispensable job.

        1. If I worked in a government department, I would want as many reasons as possible for my indispensable job.

          If I worked in your government department, I would want better co-workers. Police officers are not at a loss for actual crimes to solve and emergency services to deliver. They also have to fill out bloody forms when other civil servants call them.


          1. For Conservatives, it’s a paradox. Most police officers are genuine heroes. Analytically, you have do recognize the nature of a government department to grow and request more money. Admiration and healthy skepticism are not mutually exclusive.

            1. For Conservatives, it’s a paradox. Most police officers are genuine heroes. Analytically, you have do recognize the nature of a government department to grow and request more money.

              I’m broadly familiar with law enforcement budgets, staffing, and crime rates. You’re not. Go away.

                  1. I see, “Putz” “Stupid” “Liar” “Nitwit” etc.etc,etc…….Kind of a shame since a good deal of what you write is worthy of consideration.

                    1. The term I used was ‘putz’, They call the police, who are distracted from doing serious work by these people, and you blame the police. Not because the police are culpable, but because you have a standing complaint against police officers. ‘Putz’ is a perfectly appropriate designation for you. If you don’t like it, learn something about personal agency.

                    2. Liberty and Defiant voiced the same theme at the top of this page. No response from you there. And it is because you are under a mistaken belief that I have a complaint against police officers — most of whom are genuine heroes as I said.

                      And in any case, putz simply wan’t appropriate. And you have ruined a lot of your other comments with this “technique.”

  10. While we’re at it, what’s a youngster with Down’s doing in an ordinary elementary school?

    1. …benefiting from a regular education with peers who also benefit from her being there.
      Could be part of an inclusion classroom or even self contained. That’s very common.

      1. That’s very stupid. If you had a mild case put in a track with slow students, that might be defensible. Most Down’s cases have low absorptive capacity and benefit from high-overhead intensive instruction. They don’t belong in regular classrooms.

        Putting students of wildly varying capacities in the same classroom is grossly inefficient.

        1. its almost universally accepted now under the general notion that laws like ADA and Rehabilitation act all require that sort of thing. it’s doctrinaire at the primary school level from what i’ve seen…. including in the midwest which tends to suffer less from insane social engineering fanaticism

          as the ages go up, they sort them out

          underneath the official programs however is the mentality of the progressive, which always seeks to punish the strong

          this hasn’t changed a lick since Nietzsche explored that psychic phenomenon

    2. It’s called ‘inclusion’. By and large there are no longer separate classes for special needs children because it was viewed as stigmatizing. Granted, in my opinion, this in one fell swoop fails to address the needs of every student in the classroom, particularly those with severe challenges, it is what it is. Parents in this day and age are swift with lawsuits and they very often win. If you think your job is tough, talk to one of the remaining teachers or principals that actually take their jobs and their stewardship of all of their students seriously.

      1. They can call the police for this but don’t do anything about bullying. Even when a child is beat up.This world is going to shit.

        1. They didn’t do anything about bullying 50 years ago. There are trade-offs involved in intervening in disputes between students. (I doubt many school officials get the balance right).

      2. So long as the teachers and aides are decent and the setting is an appropriate fit for the children in the special education program, inclusion classrooms can provide a significantly higher level of education than a regular classroom.

        I’ve seen some inclusion classrooms where the adult to student ratio was 1:4. That’s a huge advantage for the children. But then the argument becomes one of cost. That classroom’s costing more than four times the amount of a regular classroom.

        1. So long as the teachers and aides are decent and the setting is an appropriate fit for the children in the special education program, inclusion classrooms can provide a significantly higher level of education than a regular classroom.


      3. Feelz over actual goals and accomplishments. That’s the school system.

    3. Absurd……….You’re so young! This is the present-day state of public schools
      My grandsons come home every day complaining about some of the children in their classes who are so disruptive it’s unbelievable.
      One grandson gets headaches from a classmate who screams all day! And there is a child with actual Tourettes who yells from time to time, as well One child yells obscene words when he feels like it.
      And of course the one who throws things at teachers and the other kids. When a pair of scissors landed on a teacher’s head, the prinicipal was notified. Scissors!! That child was moved, eventually.
      The normal children are told not to complain…..that they need to be patient with the the ones who disturb other classmates.
      The teachers will tell you there is nothing they can do, the school administration tells you their hands are tied because of policy. You just want to pull your hair out….Oh, wait…There’s a child who will do that for you!!
      This “inclusiveness” is a result of Democrats’ policies dictating that disturbed & handicapped kids should be included in a normal classroom… one should feel left out! Don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Our family has complained until we are blue in the face, more than this space allows for the telling.
      And of course, where are the teachers’ unions? Sitting in their cushy, elaborate, expensive digs in downtown Austin,, sipping their lattes.

      1. “mainstreaming” has been a disaster

        and oddly enough boys with ADHD actually suffer from the tolerance which is shown to every other sort of disorder, but their extreme boyishness is still relentlessly penalized

        because we need more drones who don’t act up!

        the last thing a public school system really wants to create is a strong individual.

        think about it.

        this is what separates truly good private education from public.

        now there are exceptions, there are some private that churn out drones too, and some public schools are actually quite good. but understand the why.

        they want people DOCILE and men EMASCULATED. plain as day, needs little more explanation than that.

      2. “mainstreaming” is not just a Democrat policy, it is related to the ADA, and before it the Rehabilitation Act, both of which had bipartisan support

        extremely aggressive application of “mainstreaming” probably is a Democrat mistake, in general, however. they just love to torment the average kid with someone two standard deviations away from the mean. That does suit the progressive mentality, which is always to pull down the strong.

  11. Wimps

    There is no mens rea at all here. In many jurisdictions children up to five years in age are legally incapable of committing crimes, 6 to 12 require a determination of the courts. There is no way a child having Down Syndrome at six years is going to be judged as having culpability to commit a crime.

    Moreover, there must be a reasonable expectation that the actor conveying the alleged threat is capable of exacting such a threat and the recipient would reasonably be in fear. Maybe these school officials are that fragile. If only a dog could be heard barking two blocks away they might run for the hills in a panic.

  12. Elementary schools are run by (1) women and (2) capons who think like women. For that reason, they are prone to signature problems. An amateur student of human behavior recently offered that women in authority tend to fall into three taxa:

    1. The Battleax: often unpleasant, but natural leaders.

    2. The Token: women promoted beyond their competence for various reasons who high-tail it back to their previous employments after a period of giving everyone what they want while feeling bad the whole time.

    3. The Hall Monitor: whose approach is the assiduous application of niggling rules.

    Hall Monitors, like everyone else, vary in their intelligence and perspicacity. These controversies arise because school systems recruit and retain stupid Hall Monitors.

    1. The library profession is a perfect example of the “Hall Monitor” category.

      1. You’re a couple of generations off at least as regards librarians outside of primary and secondary schools.

    2. Did the amateur student of human behavior provide demographics on what percentage of total population are comprised of each of the 3 taxa (new term for me)? Thank you.

  13. Teachers immediately call police when they fear imaginary finger bullets from a 6-year-old. Meanwhile, in NYC, an 8-year old and his sibling show up to school everyday for years, starving (they eat from the garbage and beg for food) and scarred, and soaked in their own urine — but police know nothing about it until the 8-year old is finally beaten to death by his parents. Disgusting!

  14. These pearl-clutching teachers need to deal with a student with a real gun some time. Idiots!!!

    1. Paul C……..I guess if we can pretend they’re qualified to teach, they can pretend it’s a real gun.😉

      Actually, there are many fine teachers today….but are outnumbered by “progressive” , politically correct stooges for the unions

      1. i don’t think you can blame this kind of insanity on unions. i know some union organizers including school ones and they’re not crazy like this.

        usually what’s afoot, is some radical social engineering program that encodes “zero tolerance” for weapons or fighting etc

        these come from above or from consultants steep in university arrogance, not unions

        1. My own sense is it’s coming from the ‘schools of education’, where the administrators are trained.

          1. EXACTLY! teachers unions operate in most districts like any other union, boring stuff like time off, periodic collective bargaining strategies, blah blah blah.,

            the virulent stuff coming out of teacher’s unions can mostly be traced to the biggest urban districts like CPS Chicago public schools, where they actually are thick with political ideologues. that’s my sense of it at least .

            now the overlap from academia is probably toxic to the union leadership more than anybody, but for quotidian things on the front lines, they’re not up to mischief they’re up to boring stuff for the most part

            I have heard endless complaints from teachers about “mainstreaming. ” Teachers that have to merge profoundly disabled students with average ones, have a hard job on their hands and they think it’s craziness, just afraid to say so.

            1. I was hearing it from my aunt 40+ years ago. She was teaching 6th grade in Fairfax County, Va. and the school puts three very disturbed youths in her classroom. She was spending 85% of her time trying to manage 15% of her students. Young teachers who were rookie hires when she was contending with this retired several years ago.

              1. Absurd…..I taught in Springfield, Fairfax County 50 years ago……as I have stated before, it was a DREAM teaching gig! Just fabulous….and again, Pre-Dept of Education!

                1. I think the midpoint of her employment there may have been around 1973.

                  1. Absurd…….I was at Rolling Valley Elementary K-6 grade, in the Spring of 1972, … Fairfax Co. was at its zenith then, imo. I taught 9 music classes a day, of 25 to 30 kids per class..But the pay was incredible
                    They gave classical guitar lessons to their music teachers once a week…FREE. And 6 hours towards a Master’s degree if we would teach music in summer school.
                    I lived in DC on Duddington Place, 4 blocks from Capitol……..good times!

        2. Mr Kurtz,
          Teachers’ unions were specifically created to lobby for classroom teachers, striving to assure a civil, acceptable workplace, adequate compensation, and legal cover, should they need it.
          Go sit in a public classroom for 30 minutes, and then go sit in a Teachers’ Union state of the art designed office building……..and then tell me what you think 😊
          Personally, I never joined a union as a public school teacher. I thought it was a waste. I was correct.
          Also, I taught before Jimmy Carter created a Dept of Education and most of us teachers did just fine!

          1. The Department of Education was an assemblage of existing programs (though being thrown together may have had a certain negative synergy). The real problem had two points of origin: the escalating officiousness of the federal court system in the conduct of public education over the period running from about 1953 to 199? and the advent of a menu of Great Society programs in 1965. Ideally, you’d fish out the statistical collection services and send them to the Labor Department, set up an independent agency to regulate producer-consumer relations between higher education and its clientele (or a new office appended to the Federal Trade Commission), turn the federal student aid programs over to a resolution authority which woud wind them down, and shutter the rest of the department toute de suite. Some administration hid the Head Start program in HHS, so shut that office down too.

            1. Absurd is correct that the biggest hand in changes to the local schools have been federal judges.

              Part of the way that this change or another has happened, is that it changes were literally forced on local schools by the article III, lifetime-tenure, unelected federal judiciary. In the name of “desegregation” there was the most profound fiddling done with local matters in American history.

              Whenever it started, Brown V Board I suppose, it did not trickle down aggressively into other areas in the late 70s. But then, school boards had no choice. implement a plan or the feds will write it for you.

              this is probably what created a lot of the demand for fancy consultants and so forth credentialed by one haughty academic “authority” or another. So university trained and handled experts, consultants, and managers, are inserting themselves where their noses don’t belong, because the feds have ordained it to be so.

              Unions were not in a position to make this happen, nor oppose it. Probably the figured out how to opportunistically adjust to what the bigwigs ordained.

              This was also a bipartisan federal intrusion, remember, because a lot of the segregation existed INSIDE Democratic strongholds….. not just down south, but up here in the Rust belt too. In those places, the desegregation plans may have been implemented, ironically, by Republican federal judges, laying down the law on local Democrat controlled government operations. But federal intrusion, and increased university meddling, were the firmly established net results.

              I think further changes regarding mainstreaming and so forth, have followed in those footsteps, under the aegis of federal laws like the ADA.

              I don’t have much insight about the topic beyond that.

              1. Just ending federal aid to education and repealing certain statutes would remove the excuses local apparatchiks offer to do inane things they want to do anyway and take away some authority from the compliance people. Congress will have to have the stones to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over local school boards to shovel the courts out the door.

                1. and they COULD strip the federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction with a simple majority vote!

                  a fact that people rarely understand. I didn’t get it until my constitutional law teacher explained this issue in another context.

              2. One of the most enduring ironies of busing kids around back and forth, which is now a cherished jobs program for Democrats, however it started in the first place– but the irony how, is that all this busing kids from one end of town to another, instead of letting them just walk to school —

                is think of how much carbon dioxide is being emitted by those buses! Global warming however does not intrude into where Democrats have patronage jobs ready to hand out semester after semester.

                Here’s what we could do to cut back on federally mandated CO2 emissions in the form of busing.

                Let the little kids walk to school! Like I did. It wasnt always pleasant for me, sometimes I got bullied. But it was always less “harmful to the environment! ”

                Believe it or not, I stood up and said something a little bit more diplomatic than this years ago in a civic meeting, without specifically blaming it on Democrats of course, since that would have been offensive and needless provocation, but just making this common sense observation about busing being a needless carbon dioxide emissions. Boy, you’d have thunk that I dropped a deuce into the punchbowl, from the looks some people gave me!

          2. Cindy,

            I was taught in a poor school dist before Carter’s DoE & they were light years ahead of this crap call public schools today.

            I’m not saying I was the best student, far from it, but I had real teachers doing their damnedest to do a great job with what they had.

            I just can’t stand I’m forced to give one dollar of my tax money supporting this Public School debauchery with what they’ve become.

            One of my part time hobbies now has become spread info I know among the local grand parents I’ve know for decades.

            This outrage called public schools has to be called to account, football teams or not, it has to happen.

            1. Oky…bless you, bro. Yes, real teachers back then.
              I think I’ve told you my first teaching job in late 60’s was in Tecumseh…They had not had a music teacher in 25 years……and they had no song books….But sweet, dear people…..They were already integrated with black children, and of course Native Amc. I had so much fun there, even though the pay was dismal.

    2. Do whatever they want. Just don’t illegally usurp the power of the people through their elected representatives or go out on strike against taxpayers. If you go out, have the courage of your convictions and stay out.

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