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School District Decides to Conduct a 'Threat Assessment' on a Young Girl With Down Syndrome

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Posted: Feb 09, 2020 1:10 PM

The Tredyffrin-Easttown School District in Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania decided to launch a "threat assessment" against a 6-year-old with Down Syndrome. The girl, Margot Gaines, made a gun with her fingers and pretended to shoot her teacher at Valley Forge Elementary School.

According to Margot's mother, Maggie, both the principal and the teacher agreed Margot didn't understand what she did was wrong. Despite that, the school determined they had to conduct a "threat assessment," a form of disciplinary action, CBS 3 in Philadelphia reported.

At the conclusion of the assessment, it was determined that no one was in danger and Margot's actions were considered a "transient threat." Maggie said it was a way of her daughter expressing her anger.

Even though no one was in harm's way, the school district decided to call the police, something Maggie disagreed with.

“They get this phone call and I was fine with everything up until calling the police,” she explained. “And I said, ‘You absolutely do not have to call the police. You know, this is ridiculous.'”

When school administrators questioned Margot, it was clear the young girl didn't understand what she meant.

“My daughter got frustrated and pointed her finger at her teacher and said, ‘I shoot you.' At that point, they went to the principal’s office and it was quickly assessed that she didn’t even really know what she was saying," Maggie told CBS 3. “They were asking her questions, and she was saying, ‘Oh, I shoot mommy,’ laughs, or, ‘I shoot my brother.’ The principal asked, ‘Did you mean to hurt your teacher?’ And she said no and it seemed like she didn’t even know what that meant."

Maggie's main issue with what took place: there will now be a police record of Margot threatening her teacher.

“She really didn’t understand what she was saying, and having Down syndrome is one aspect, but I’m sure all 6-year-olds don’t really know what that means,” Maggie said. “Now, there is a record at the police that says she made a threat to her teacher.”