Tags: pop-tart | school | gun | bill

Pop-Tart School Gun Bill Targets Florida's Zero Tolerance Zealots

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 07:04 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Pop-Tart school gun bill, intended to prevent students from being suspended for making the pastry and other items into the shape of a gun, cleared a state House panel Wednesday in Florida.

The bill is designed to bar overreactions under zero-tolerance policies that were intended to keep weapons out of public schools, according to Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala, Fla., the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

If approved the bill would prevent school districts across Florida from suspending a student for "brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item" bitten into the shape of a weapon or "possessing a toy firearm or weapon made of plastic snap-together building blocks."

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Last March, a 7-year-old Maryland elementary school student was suspended after he nibbled a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun.

The suspension for the seemingly harmless gesture was one of numerous hypersensitive reactions by school officials around the country in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six teachers dead.

Several weeks before the pop-tart suspension, a 14-year-old student in an Illinois middle school was threatened with suspension by a teacher for wearing a Marines T-shirt with guns on it.

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."

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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.

Similar legislation to Florida's pop-tart school gun bill has been proposed in Maryland; however it has yet to become law.

The proposed Florida bill received unanimous support on the House K-12 Subcommittee, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

"This is addressing a zero-tolerance policy that often will not allow people to use common sense because their hands are tied," said Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, an Orlando suburb Democrat who has in the past taught at several Central Florida elementary schools.

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