Should a kindergartener or any student be sent home from school if he uses his hand to pretend to shoot a gun while playing cops and robbers? How about for drawing a picture of a gun on a piece of paper or wears a shirt with the NRA logo to school? And, here’s the icing on the cake… should a kid be expelled from school for eating a pop-tart pastry or any other finger food – yes this actually happened in Maryland – into the shape of a gun or any other weapon? My answer is… well it depends. Are kids just using their imaginations to play, which is what we want, considering we now live in a hi-tech, everyone has an iPod, 24 hour news cycle, us versus them world? Or, is the kid who bends three fingers on his hand to form a gun tormenting i.e bullying my kid or another kid on a daily basis? Believe it or not the Nevada State Legislature is actually considering debate on a law that would prohibit a school from disciplining a student for any of the above examples and then some.
Nevada’s Pop Tart Gun Bill vs Common Sense
Let me preface by saying that I don’t like guns, I’m not a fan. I shot a handgun once. In college I went out on a date with a guy who thought it would be a fun to go to a shooting range for our first date. I was a good shot, but it was not my thing and neither was he. Having said that, I do believe in the second amendment to a certain degree. However, what I find hard to believe is that our common sense has gotten so skewed by litigation that our elected leaders feel the need to create legislation to curb our “overreactions.”
If you are not familiar with Nevada Assembly Bill 121 aka the Pop Tart Gun Bill here’s the breakdown:
A student may not be disciplined for simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon, or expressing an opinion regarding a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon includes:
- Brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Possessing a toy firearm or dangerous weapon that is 2 inches or less in length
- Possessing a toy firearm or dangerous weapon made of plastic building blocks which snap together
- Using a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Drawing a picture or possessing an image of a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Using a pencil, pen or other writing or drawing implement to simulate a firearm or dangerous weapon.
Here is the caveat to this ridiculousness. Discipline would be allowed for students that are disruptive, injure another student, or places another person in fear of bodily harm.
We don’t need more regulation what we need is more common sense. Principals need to be given leeway to make judgment calls regarding when an incident is actually a danger or disruptive to the kids in their school and not be driven to immediately expel a child for fear of lawsuits. And, our law makers – all of them – need to back off and work on more important things.
Read any article about the Nevada Legislature, including this one from the Reno Gazette Journal about lawmakers filing complaints against each other and brawling so that police are called in – not a typo- you would think Nevada is the Wild West. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this bill.