A fifth grader at a South Philadelphia elementary school made the mistake of pulling out a gun constructed out of paper in class last week.
An official at D. Newlin Fell School searched the student, Melody Valentin, in front of her entire class, reports FOX 29. After the search failed to turn any more weapons (paper or non-paper), the staffer intensely scolded the little girl – also in front of the whole class.
Valentin explained that she had attempted throw the contraband away, but a boy saw it and notified administrators.
“He yelled at me and said I shouldn’t have brought the gun to school and I kept telling him it was a paper gun but he wouldn’t listen,” the fifth grader told the station.
Describing the paper firearm, the girl’s mother, Dianna Kelly, said it looked similar to a folded sheet of paper. The little girl’s grandfather had made it for her the day before, she added.
Valentin told FOX 29 that she had put it in her pocket and forgotten about it. She said she only got it out to throw it away.
She added that her classmates had jeered her and called her a “murderer” after the incident.
According to Kelly, the taunts and the dressing down in front of her classmates were allegedly too much for her daughter to take. The fifth grader has been suffering from nightmares, her mother told FOX 29.
“Why did he threaten my daughter?” Kelly asked, according to the Daily Mail. “Why did he stand over my daughter and tell her that he should call the cops on her. Why did he try to scare her?”
Since the Sandy Hook mass shooting in December, the incident at D. Newlin Fell School is at least the third time elementary school officials have reacted strongly to things that represent guns but aren’t, actually, anything like real guns.
In rural Pennsylvania, a kindergarten girl was suspended for making a “terroristic threat” after she told another girl that she planned to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty toy gun that bombards targets with soapy bubbles.
At Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Maryland, a six-year-old boy was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” That boy’s suspension was later lifted and his name cleared.