Maggie Gaines is a mother calling for a Pennsylvania school board to review and revise their policy on guns.
The way the policy is written, she says, is one of the major factors behind why her six-year-old now has a police record.
Back in November Maggie's little girl, named Margot, got frustrated in her class and made a finger-gun hand gesture. Margot is a six year-old kindergartener with Down Syndrome.
And these are finger guns.
Combined with a wink or a grin, finger guns are viewed as one of the most cheesy/lame gestures you can give.
To the eyes of Margot's teacher, though, finger guns from a six year-old little girl with Down syndrome was a threat that needed to be reported. Margot's teacher reported the "threat" to administrators.
Those administrators questioned Margot and decided that her hand gesture was a "transient threat"—which is a fancy way of saying nobody was in any real danger and they knew it. Still, they say they needed to follow their threat assessment protocol.
Part of that protocol includes calling the police.
Officers created a report of the threat so that it could be filed away. As far as Maggie is concerned, the school's response was an incredible overreaction.
The zero-tolerance policy left no room for a common sense decision. That created a traumatic situation for a child with a developmental issue, wasted police time and resources and created undue stress for pretty much everyone involved.
Maggie is calling for the district to revisit those policies.
The school says they did everything according to district policy and haven't said much beyond that—telling CNN that Maggie need not worry because the police report didn't generate a criminal record for Margot. Maggie, however, isn't the only one worried.
Pennsylvania state Senator Andrew Dinniman has spoken out about the issue in a statement where he says, in part:
"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."
"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."
People on Twitter were left in awe (not in a good way) of the school's actions.
@iamrobothead Those 6 year old, down syndrome girls sure are the critical demographics of school shootings with finger imaginary bullets— Owlet (@Owlet)1581592906.0
@reason “The principal and teacher agreed that the girl, Margot, had not intended to make a threat. But they inform… https://t.co/hNqkKpyzkf— Blazed Trader (@Blazed Trader)1581472301.0
@SandraSentinel @Jamierodr14 Common sense is the first victim of strict adherence to ideology.— Charley D. (@Charley D.)1581430685.0
@robbysoave And keep in mind that the same district chooses NOT to report altercations that leave students beaten u… https://t.co/BDHKv6wtyB— Erika Sanzi (@Erika Sanzi)1581445250.0
@CNN Seriously? There probably were 2 murders, 4 burglaries, 2 car accidents and whatever else needed police attent… https://t.co/SgKf1HGwQH— Babyprez (@Babyprez)1581539843.0
@pmsdlegal She needs to be fired. She clearly has no idea how to work with special needs children and has the common sense of a goldfish.— Kae Schlosser (@Kae Schlosser)1581626475.0
@ESOP_STL @DrRJKavanagh You are spot on. That call should have NEVER went out to a patrol car, supervisor or anyone… https://t.co/DxskyE3VGl— JC Healy (@JC Healy)1581643408.0
@iamrobothead Lucky the teacher isn't allowed to be armed in class, coz he/she probably would of shot the girl in self-defence.— Bert Jeffreys (@Bert Jeffreys)1581569153.0
Maggie, Senator Dinniman and Twitter have all certainly let their feelings be known. How the district will respond is still unclear.