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Family protests suspension of child over toy gun talk

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The family of a Pennsylvania kindergartner suspended from school for talking about a soap bubble toy gun is protesting her punishment and wants her record cleared, an attorney for the family said on Monday.

The unidentified 5-year-old child from Mount Carmel in eastern Pennsylvania was suspended after she talked on January 10 about a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun while waiting for a bus after school, said attorney Robin Ficker.

According to the attorney, the little girl said to a friend: "I'm going to shoot you and I will shoot myself, and we'll all play together."

Her comments were overheard by an adult who reported them to the school, he said.

But the toy shoots only soap bubbles, and the girl did not even have one, he said.

"She had no gun," he said. "She talked about the Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, just talked about it. They searched her back pack, they searched her coat, they searched her, she had no gun."

The family wants school authorities to clear her record, issue an apology and admit they made a mistake, he said.

The incident comes in the wake of the shooting of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at a Connecticut school last month, which has ignited renewed debate about gun violence.

Ficker said he had scheduled a January 30 meeting with school district solicitor Edward Greco. Greco's office confirmed the meeting.

Greco declined to comment on the case.

In a statement issued to local media, the school district said it was continuing to investigate the case and said some information given to media may not be consistent with the facts. It did not elaborate.

Ficker said the child's mother wants to transfer her out of the school but the new school will not accept her because her record includes the allegation of making terroristic threats.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Richard Chang)

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