Target: Susan Nestico, Principal of Mount Carmel Area Elementary School
Goal: Erase suspension from the record of a 5-year-old girl who was punished for innocently mentioning a bubble gun
A Pennsylvanian 5 year-old girl was suspended from her elementary school, Mount Carmel Area, after she talked about shooting a Hello Kitty “bubble gun” with another student. According to CNN, the kindergartner stated: “I’ll shoot you, you shoot me, and we’ll all play together.” Due to recent tragedies, such as the Newtown shooting in which 20 children were murdered by a gunman, it is understandable for people to be highly sensitive in regards to guns. However, the suspension of a 5-year-old girl who did not come across as aggressive or violent while she talked about her Hello Kitty gun was overly dramatic. The elementary school must revoke the child’s suspension as it may hurt her educational career and self-esteem in the future.
The child was suspended by principal Susan Nestico for making a “terroristic threat.” The suspension was originally 10 days and was reduced to two days after hearing back from a professional counselor. The school also changed the reason for suspension to “threat to harm others.” However, the parents are still extremely upset that the suspension will remain on the child’s record even after the situation was cleared up.
The school requested that the child attend a session with a professional counselor individually and with her mother, and the counselor deemed her behavior and temperament normal for a 5-year-old. She has no history of mood swings, aggressiveness, and behavioral disorders. The therapist stated to CNN that the girl “does not have those risk factors identified for violent behavior…it would also seem that (she) has no harmful or predatory intent in the comments she made to her friends about the bubble ‘gun’ but did not recognize the heightened sensitivity and awareness of her friends and the response that may result from her comments.” There were also no signs of parental abuse or neglect. She was just playfully talking with one of her friends and the subject happened to be a bubble gun.
Principal Nestico overreacted when she suspended the 5 year-old girl. Although the principal is responsible for the safety of the students attending the elementary school, she is also responsible for educating them and by suspending this girl, she is not educating her but rather punishing her. Principal Nestico could have used this incident as a teaching example for the children in regards to why guns are not something to joke about but she did not, and now a 5-year-old girl may have this incident on her record forever.
Principal Nestico must remove the suspension off the innocent child’s school record.
Dear Principal Nestico,
The recent suspension of a 5 year-old girl was overly dramatic and unnecessary. I understand that she talked about shooting her Hello Kitty bubble gun and due to the recent tragedies involving guns, what she said may have been perceived as threatening. But she is just 5 years old and did not know any better. Rather than suspending her, you should have educated her about why her words and subject matter were problematic.
Furthermore, she attended the therapy session as requested by your suspension letter. The therapist stated that the child is a normal 5-year-old with no history of mood swings, depression, or behavioral disorders. Her statement about the bubble gun was innocent and had no hidden agenda.
You must expunge the suspension from her record before it influences her future.
[Your Name Here]