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Girl's Alleged Weapon in Threat Charge: Her Fingers

Kansas middle schooler accused of pointing 'finger gun' at classmates is hit with felony charge
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2019 10:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Kansas middle schooler has been arrested and charged with felony threatening after she reportedly made a finger-gun gesture at four other kids. The Kansas City Star reports the Sept. 18 incident took place at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, with a source telling the paper the girl, age 12 or 13, was asked by another student whom she'd kill if she could; that's when she allegedly pointed her pretend firearm at classmates, then at herself. An Overland Park cop took her out of school in handcuffs and brought her to a juvenile center, where she was charged, a police rep said in a statement to the Washington Post. "Threats in schools are taken very seriously and treated appropriately," the rep says. The paper notes last week, two teens allegedly brought guns into a different middle school in the district; a first-time offense of possessing a firearm is a misdemeanor.

The girl's grandfather in California, where she's now living, tells the Star his granddaughter was "just mouthing off" and doesn't have access to a gun, and that the incident should've been handled internally. Still, a Shawnee Mission School District spokesman says a finger gun could flout the district's ban on bullying or intimidation, if an "individual definitely feels threatened." The paper notes other finger-gun incidents in the US have resulted in discipline for students in schools with zero-tolerance policies for bullying and threats. The Overland Park girl's grandfather, who worries a felony on her record could hurt her chances at college or the military, says he was told she may be facing up to a year in a juvenile facility if convicted. Johnson County DA Steve Howe tells WDAF that's not likely, as the girl will likely qualify for a more lenient disciplinary measure. (Read more Kansas stories.)

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