TOP 10, #10: Hello Kitty Bubbles Gun incident
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Area School District was thrust into the national spotlight in January after officials suspended a kindergarten student for alleged threats she made involving a toy gun.
The 5-year-old was originally suspended for 10 days for an alleged "terroristic threat," but the suspension was later reduced to two days and described as a "threat to harm others."
Robin Ficker, attorney for the family, said the child was playing with two friends while waiting in line for the bus and talked about a "Hello Kitty Bubbles Gun." Ficker said the young girl said she was going to shoot one of her friends and then herself so they could be together.
Someone at the school became aware of the conversation and reported it to administrators. Ficker was upset that the girl was questioned by school officials for three hours before her mother was called, and that she had to undergo psychological testing before returning to school.
"This is a good-natured little girl, and it shows how hysterical people who work at schools have become since Sandy Hook," Ficker said in January.
The district was widely criticized for its reaction as the story made national headlines, but Superintendent Bernie Stellar said in a statement the suspension came after a thorough investigation.
"The Mount Carmel Area School District takes the well-being and safety of students and staff very seriously," Stellar said. "In discipline matters, all circumstances are taken into consideration when arriving at decisions."
In late-January, the two sides held a closed-door meeting and, following that, Ficker implied the suspension was expunged from the girl's permanent record and she was able to return to school.