Did the pastry gun controversy “backfire” on the school system? Well, the country’s leading gun rights organizations has one new member as a result.
The second grader who was suspended for eating a snack pastry into what looked like the shape of a gun has been gifted with a junior life membership in the National Rifle Association.
In March, Josh Welch served a two-day suspension from Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, for this Pop-Tart peccadillo. Last night, he was presented with his very own NRA membership by Rep. Nicholaus R. Kipke, the Republican House Minority Leader. “I was embarrassed that my county would do that to him,” Kipke said.
The NRA junior life membership costs $550.
Educational institutions around the country have adopted zero-tolerance policies for threats or perceived threats of any kind after the horrific Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and have sometimes been accused of overreacting to trivial incidents.
The Welch family’s lawyer has filed legal papers to get Josh’s suspension thrown out and erased from his school record.
Josh, now 8, has this to say about the pastry gun controversy: “Everyone keeps asking me why I did it. I don’t know why I did it… I wish people would stop asking me about it. It’ll probably go on for 45 years or something.” He also admitted that he had no idea what the NRA was, but added that he was the only NRA member in the family. His attorney explained that no one in the Welch family owns guns and Josh himself has never handled one, but lauded the NRA membership gift because it would result in Josh learning how to handle firearms — presumably sometime far down the line.
The Josh Welch incident prompted another legislator to introduce a bill in the Maryland Senate that would prohibit disproportionate school discipline for minor, harmless incidents of this nature. In support of “The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2012,” State Sen. J. B. Jennings said “We really need to reevaluate how kids are punished. These kids can’t comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions. These suspensions are going on their permanent records and could have lasting effects on their educations.”
Do you think that an NRA Membership is an appropriate gift in this situation?
[Image via Shutterstock]