Since Congress started wrestling with stricter gun control laws early this year, school officials around the country have been on edge about how to handle threats of violence from students. There have been a lot of draconian responses in the last few months. In one case, an eighth-grader in West Virginia was suspended and arrested for refusing to remove an NRA T-shirt. In another, two 6-year-olds in Maryland were suspended for pointing their fingers like guns.
Congressman Steve Stockman, noted AR-15 raffler and Ted Nugent BFF, has written a bill that threatens to defund schools that punish students for "harmless expressions of childhood play," which include drawing pictures of guns, "vocalizing imaginary firearms or munitions" or possessing a toy gun less than two inches long. Also, "brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a gun" would be OK.
The pastry reference is a nod to another Maryland boy, 8-year-old Josh Welch, who nibbled a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun and in March and got suspended for it. Welch was apparently trying to make it into a mountain shape, but it's a good early lesson for any artist on what it's like dealing with critics.
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According to the bill these punishments accomplish nothing beyond teaching students to "be afraid of inanimate objects that are shaped like guns." And the broad wording of "pastry or other food" also protects kids who prefer Toaster Strudels, which is refreshing in this era of hardline partisanship.