Too Much? Student Arrested for Finger Gun

Depending on where you sit, this could be a case of wildly disproportional panic by school administrators or a reasonable move to protect student safety. From the cheap seats, I can’t help but think that this case called for a different solution.

Here’s what we know: Two eighth-graders were talking in class. One asked the other which of their classmates she would kill first. The student made a pretend gun and pretended to shoot four specific students, then pretended to shoot herself.

Disturbing, for sure. Here’s the question for this morning: What would you do about it if you were the teacher or principal?

In this case, the principal called the student to his office. The student was handcuffed and arrested. She was charged with a felony for making a criminal threat. As a youthful first offender, her maximum sentence if found guilty would be a period of probation.

Was arresting the student the right move? I hate to second-guess the people who actually know her and the situation, but it seems like this should have been handled differently. Why not have counseling for both the arrested student AND the other student who prompted her with the question about shooting classmates?

I don’t take this kind of threat lightly, but it seems as if dragging this student out of school in handcuffs, then eventually allowing her back in school with everyone knowing this story will only increase the chances that this student will act on her threat.

What do you think? What would you have done if you were the principal?

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4 Comments

  1. Larry Gerber

     /  October 22, 2019

    Having been in this very situation it is hard to judge without full knowledge of the situation. Was this the 10th time this student had acted this way? Was their previous bullying issues? Had all other options been exhausted? In isolation it seems pretty small, but we just don’t know. Also, let’s say the principal did assign the kid to counseling and came in the next week and shot someone, the judgement would be much worse. Our schools are in a no-win situation.

    Reply
  2. I think in all likelihood it wasn’t a threat at all but just a joke. However it is understandable in this day and age that schools take such things seriously. I think there should be a clearly articulated policy that such jokes won’t be tolerated, in the same way that jokes about bombs are treated at an airport, that is, not as jokes. If that policy is in place and kids violate it, whatever trouble they get into will be for violating the policy, regardless of whether they meant it. As such, there would be no question of whether the school overreacted, it was just following protocol.

    Reply
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