A second grader was suspended from school last Thursday because he bit his breakfast pastry into a shape that his teacher thought looked like a gun.
Yes, it’s yet another ridiculous over-reaction to a non-threat.
Seven-year-old Josh Welch, who attends Park Elementary School in Baltimore, said he was trying to nibble his strawberry snack into a mountain.
Josh, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and enjoys art classes, told Fox 45 that his actions were innocent.
‘It was already a rectangle and I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top and it kinda looked like a gun but it wasn’t.
All I was trying to do was turn it into a mountain but, it didn’t look like a mountain really and it turned out to be a gun kinda,’ the seven-year-old recalled.
But when his teacher saw what he had done, the boy says she got ‘pretty mad’ and he knew he was ‘in big trouble.’
Zero Tolerance For Guns Out Of Control
This is not the first time in recent months that zero tolerance with respect to guns has gone out of control.
Earlier this year, Melody Valentin, a Philadelphia fifth-grader, was searched by school administrators after she allegedly threw out a piece of paper in the shape of a gun.
And in yet another egregious example, a five-year-old was suspended from Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, because she was playing with her Hello Kitty bubble gun and allegedly threatening to shoot herself and a classmate.
These are wonderful “teachable moments,” but instead of making the most of them, administrators chose to punish their students.
Suspended For Two Days
In Josh’s case, his dad received a phone call from the school saying that Josh has been suspended for two days because of what he had done. He was amazed and angry.
As Fox 45 reports:
Josh’s dad is not happy saying, “I would almost call it insanity. I mean with all the potential issues that could be dealt with at school, real threats, bullies, whatever the real issue is, it’s a pastry.., Ya know?” Josh just wishes he could go back to class, but maintains a good sense of humor through the whole debacle saying, “I didn’t get to eat all my breakfast, so, really I am still hungry.”
Well, at least Josh has a sense of humor.
If his teacher thought the 7-year-old’s action was inappropriate, couldn’t she find a better way to let him know? Teachers are supposed to understand their young charges and know how to respond to them. How about disciplining this teacher instead?
And as Josh’s father points out, schools have plenty of issues that they should be handling, without wasting time on the shape of a strawberry pastry.
School Districts Revising Zero Tolerance Policies
Thankfully some school districts around the country are recognizing that.
After the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, schools nationwide established zero tolerance weapons policies: schools had to suspend or expel students, no matter the circumstances, when weapons were involved.
Obviously this was done with the best of intentions, but there have been plenty of unintended consequences.
Last year, Colorado State Senator Linda Newell sponsored a bill which became law that permits schools to develop other options other than a mandatory suspension or expulsion after a student violates weapons policies.
Schools in Colorado now are required to develop new discipline rules, including changes to their weapons policies, to their drug and alcohol policies, and in how they handle habitually disruptive behavior.
Let’s hope word gets out to other school districts. It’s time to stop this madness.
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Photo Credit: screenshot from Fox 45 video