A Philadelphia fifth-grader said she was scolded by a school administrator and even searched in front of her entire class last week - all because she pulled out a paper gun.
Melody Valentin's grandfather had made her the "gun" - which resembled a piece of paper with a chunk torn out of it - the day before, and she stuck it in her pocket and forgot about it, WTXF-TV reported
. When she went to throw it out in class the next day, another student spotted it and called her out. A school administrator was summoned, and Melody was reprimanded for having the paper.
"He yelled at me and said I shouldn't have brought the gun to school and I kept telling him it was a paper gun but he wouldn't listen," she told the station. The administrator allegedly threatened to have her arrested, and other students called her a "murderer."
Melody's mother, Dianna Kelly, is furious and has been keeping her daughter out of class to avoid harassment. She said she wants to pull her out of the school permanently.
"Why did he threaten my daughter? Why did you stand over my daughter and tell her that you should call the cops on her? 'You can be arrested?' Why were you trying to scare her?" Kelly said.
School officials did not return a request for comment from WTXF. The Philadelphia school district said it was looking into the matter.
Schools across the country have been on high alert in the wake of the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. In another incident this month just northwest of Philadelphia, a 5-year-old girl was suspended and labeled a "terrorist threat"
all because she told a friend she was going to shoot her with a pink toy bubble gun.