Maryland lawmaker introduces bill after pastry 'gun' suspension
A Maryland lawmaker has introduced legislation after a 7-year-old boy in his district was suspended for shaping a pastry into what his teacher thought looked like a gun.
The Star Democrat reports that Republican Sen. J.B. Jennings introduced a bill that would prohibit schools from suspending students for seemingly harmless childish acts, such as playing games with fingers pointed like guns or chewing food into the shape of a firearm.I understand the sentiment that leads to this sort of thing, I really do. These types of stories are getting more and more common - Pop-Tarts, fingers, cowboys-and-indians, pieces of paper - it seems like things that should warrant at most an admonition to settle down are being blown way out of proportion. With today's "zero tolerance" idiocy, kids are being hauled out of classrooms and hit with suspensions over the shape of their breakfast pastry - proving once again that common sense is far from common.
But filing a bill isn't the way to handle this. First of all, who's going to define "seemingly harmless childish acts"? I don't want the screaming milquetoasts who blanche at the sight of a vaguely gun-shaped breakfast treat deciding what is or isn't harmless. I suspect my definition and theirs are worlds apart. Secondly, it still doesn't get to the root of the problem, which is school administrators with little common sense and even less accountability who think it is perfectly reasonable to suspend a seven-year old over the shape of his breakfast.
That's not the sort of thing that's going to be changed by passing another bill. That's the sort of thing that, in a perfect world, would be served by stocks in the town square and rotten fruit for the school adminstrator who punishes a second grader with suspension over a gun-shaped morning treat. Since we are far too "civilized" for that, perhaps a round of firings will shake things up? Preferably from a cannon, mind you...
This is a story where the backstory is vital. Is this a case of a teacher who is hypersensitive to school violence in the wake of the Newtown shootings? Perhaps this teacher should be offered counseling to help overcome their fears. Is it a problem student being punished through acceptable channels? They couldn't punish a hyperactive child diagnosed with ADHD who fidgets and disrupts the class, so when this child makes a gun shape they sieze the opportunity? It's certainly plausible; at least as plausible as a teacher being so threatened by a three foot tall second grader with a "gun"-shaped pastry.
In any case, making more laws isn't going to solve this, because it's simply not a legal issue...
That is all.