Published January 26, 2013
The School District of Philadelphia is defending its decision to scold and search an elementary school student who pulled out a paper gun in class.
A district spokesman said the school acted swiftly and appropriately when 5th grade student Melody Valentin allegedly told classmates she had a handgun on her, MyFoxPhilly.com reported.
Melody and her mother, Dianna Kelly, deny she ever used the word “handgun.”
According to Kelly, Melody realized she had the paper gun with her and put it on her desk while preparing to throw it away. Melody’s grandfather, a marine specializing in firearms reportedly gave it to her the day before.
A classmate spotted the piece of paper and contacted administrators.
"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," Melody told MyFoxPhilly.com.
Fernando Gallard, a school district spokesman told MyFoxPhilly.com the district acted within its guidelines in responding to the situation, and cited another case where a handgun was recently found in a backpack in another school.
Kelly has kept Melody out of school to avoid harassment and said she will now have her home schooled.