Six-year-old Margot Gaines, who is afflicted with Downs Syndrome, was frustrated in class. She made what looked like a gun with her fingers, pointed at her teacher, and said: “I shoot you.”
That’s when things went south.
Following school policy in Tredyffrin-Easttown School District Pennsylvania, the teacher pulled Margot out of class and took her to the principal’s office. The principal alerted Margot’s mother, Maggie, and then asked the little girl a series of questions, such as, “did you want to hurt your teacher?”
It was clear from the girl’s responses she had no concept of shooting a person and no intention of inflicting harm, and as a six-year-old, she didn’t have the means.
All of this might sound like a big production over a small thing… then it got worse.
Again, following school procedure, the administration called the police, who filed a report on little Margot Gaines. That’s when her mother lost it.
Maggie Gaines said:
“They get this phone call and I was fine with everything up until calling the police. And I said, ‘You absolutely do not have to call the police. You know, this is ridiculous.’”
Pennsylvania state senator Andrew Dinniman, who was contacted by the Gaines family, jumped into the fray
“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.”
Judgment? Common sense? Those notions left the school building long ago.