Schools that punish for imaginary guns could lose federal funding

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Rep Steve Stockman
Rep. Steve Stockman

Saying ”zero tolerance” school policies that punish young children for innocent play “create irrational fear of imaginary objects,” U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, on Tuesday introduced a bill that would block federal funding for schools with policies he says constitute abuse.

“Too often so-called ‘zero tolerance’ policies are being abused by school authorities to punish children for innocent play or, worse, try to indoctrinate them to be terrified of anything even shaped like a gun,” Stockman said in announcing the Student Protection Act. “Instead of nurturing young minds these policies are traumatizing children who did nothing wrong or instilling in them irrational fears.”

Stockman questioned why taxpayer dollars are being spent to “subsidize this insanity.” The bill would end “government-sanctioned political correctness” that is traumatizing children, he said.

In a recent wave of incidents, some noted in the bill, schools have punished children for pretending to play with gun-shaped objects. One of the most notorious involved the 7-year-old who was suspended for biting a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. In another, a Marine’s son who pretended a pencil was a gun – was also suspended.

Calvert County, Md., was the scene of two particularly extreme instances. In the first, a 5-year-old was suspended after being interrogated until he wet his pants over a cap gun, and in the second, an 11-year-old was suspended for merely talking about guns.

“Schools should be places where children learn. Punishing children for playing “cops and robbers” or taking a bite out of a Pop-Tart that makes it somewhat resemble a gun is not healthy for children,” Stockton said according to a press release distributed by the congressman’s office.

Stockton says he is trying to “restore sanity” to the classroom. If passed, the Student Protection Act would end federal taxpayer subsidies to schools that enforce extreme measures for imaginary weapon-play.

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