The “zero-tolerance” policy has become pretty insane in recent years, with school officials drastically over-reacting to kids being, well, normal kids. In one incident last year, a little boy in Maryland chewed his Pop-tart into the shape of a gun, and the adults in his school went ballistic. Legislators in Florida are pushing back against the madness by passing a “Pop-tart bill.”
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday, reports the Miami Herald.
A number of absurd stories have made the news of innocent kids playing, sometimes quite creatively, who get into big trouble at school. If there is any mention or resemblance of a gun, the offending child is taken down quickly. Some even have the word “terrorist” on their school record.
The Inquisitr has reported a number of these crazy over-reactions. There was the girl who talked about shooting bubbles at someone with a Hello, Kitty bubble gun. A boy thought that the clouds were shaped like a gun. Another brought an obviously toy gun to school and was interrogated for two hours, during which time he wet his pants. And another built a toy gun out of Legos. Just the mere MENTION of the word “gun” can make teachers go apoplectic.
School administrations often come down very hard on such children. Interrogations and suspensions are common reactions. One child was suspended for ten days. Another was expelled.
Blogger Matt Briggs points out the absurdity. A picture on his blog of a Pop tart gun like the one above is thus captioned: “If you think this is a gun, you probably have Educators Disease. Contact a health professional immediately.” He continues, “A hundred years ago Educators Disease was virtually unheard of…. Now a week doesn’t go by without another case being diagnosed.”
A Facebook meme asks the obvious question, “If a teacher can’t tell the difference between this (a Pop tart gun) and a real gun, do you really think that person should be teaching?” It’s a fair question.
Some in the Florida legislature obviously agree that some teachers have apparently lost their minds, or at least their ability to reason out simple scenarios. They have pro-actively introduced, and passed, a bill that spells out, in language so simple that even a confused teacher can understand, what types of pretend guns pose no threat and are thus permitted:
- Brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or weapon.
- Possessing a toy firearm or weapon that is 2 inches or less in overall length.
- Possessing a toy firearm or weapon made of plastic snap-together building blocks.
- Using a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or weapon.
- Vocalizing an imaginary firearm or weapon.
- Drawing a picture, or possessing an image, of a firearm or weapon.
- Using a pencil, pen, or other writing or drawing utensil to simulate a firearm or weapon.
The clear language in the text of Florida’s new Pop tart law is a good thing, and may help to prevent confusion. Perhaps other states will follow suit.
In a recent update to the Pop tart kid’s case, his parents met in April with school officials in the vain attempt to get the potential damaging gun-related offense off of his record. The top attorney for the school, Laurie Pritchard, defended the school’s actions,
“First of all, it wasn’t a Pop-Tart,” said Pritchard. “It was a breakfast pastry.”
And that’s why lawmakers included such plain language in the Pop tart gun bill, in order to prevent any such perplexing misunderstandings by educators.