A 7-year-old Maryland elementary school student was suspended last week after he nibbled a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun, and now state legislators are saying it's time to put an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools.
William Welch, father of second-grader Josh, said the boy was trying to bite the breakfast pastry into the shape of a mountain, but it turned out looking more like a gun. The assistant principal at Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County claims the boy pointed the "gun" at another student, but Josh Welch maintains he pointed it at the ceiling.
"In my eyes, it's irrelevant. I don't care who he pointed it at," Welch told the Washington Post
. "It was harmless. It was a danish. [Apparently] if you make your pastry into a gun, you're going to be the next Columbine shooter."
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This isn't the first time a teacher may have overreacted, as hypersensitivity becomes the norm in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn
Last week, a teacher at an Illinois middle school threatened to suspend a 14-year-old student, claiming his Marines T-shirt with guns on it violated the dress code
"My son is very proud of the Marines, and, in fact, of all the services," Daniel McIntyre, the boy's father, told FoxNews.com. "So he wears it with pride. There are two rifles crossed underneath the word 'Marines' on the shirt, but to me that should be overlooked. It's more about the Marines instead of the rifles."
Similarly, in January, a 6-year-old boy was suspended from his Maryland elementary school for pointing his finger like a gun at a classmate and saying "pow."
Two weeks later, two 6-year-old boys were suspended for pointing their fingers like imaginary guns during a game of cops and robbers at a different Maryland elementary school.
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These incidents inspired Maryland Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican, to propose "The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013" last week. If approved, the measure would prevent school administrators from suspending or punishing students for making gun hand gestures or bringing to school "any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose." Students would be disciplined only if they use such an object in a direct act of violence.
"We really need to re-evaluate how kids are punished," Jennings told the Star Democrat. "These kids can't comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions."
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