A 13-year-old girl at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kan., imitated a gun with her fingers and pointed it at four students last month—now, she’s being charged with a felony.
The girls’ classmate asked her which classmates she would kill if she could, and that’s when she made the sign with her fingers and pointed it at classmates before pointing it at herself, the Kansas City Star reported.
“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand,” Jon Cavanaugh, the girl’s grandfather, told the Star. “She was just mouthing off.”
The incident happened on Sept. 18 and the girl was reported on the school’s anti-bullying app, the Washington Post reported. After the girl was questioned, she was handcuffed and taken to a nearby juvenile facility.
The girl’s arrest came just two weeks after two 13-year-old boys in the Shawnee Mission School District brought guns hidden inside backpacks to their middle school only six miles away, according to the Associated Press. But those boys were only charged with misdemeanors by the same district attorney that charged with girl.
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“It seems a little bit of an anomaly, you would think that having the actual gun that would be the more serious charge, but in fact it’s the actual threat,” Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe told WDAF.
The district attorney has faced widespread criticism for the huge difference in charges and her family is worried that the charges for imitating a gun with her fingers will follow her around for years.
But Howe says that the girl will likely not actually go to a detention center.
“It would be extremely difficult, almost impossible, under the current juvenile justice system to actually send them to the correctional facility for that type of behavior because it is such a low-level offense, it would not meet the criteria needed,” Howe told WDAF.