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Florida bill would give schoolchildren the right bear make-believe arms

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Call it zero tolerance for zero tolerance. It is to a bill introduced in the Florida state legislature that would protect children who point their fingers as guns in school from being punished by overzealous disciplinarians.

The blog Libertarian Republic notes that the initiative is known as the “Pop-Tart Bill,” after a Maryland second grader who was suspended for chewing a breakfast pastry into a shape resembling a gun. Some of the other “crimes” that would go unprosecuted under the bill would include drawing a picture of a gun or saying the word gun.

The bill’s author is Dennis Baxley, a Republican, who has stated that his mission is to protect schoolchildren from capricious and deranged punishments.

The bill would prohibit schools from taking disciplinary action for a range of possible infringements including vocalizing gun sounds, using hands to simulate a weapon, possessing a toy firearm made of Legos, possessing a toy firearm that is smaller than two inches in length, and possessing a food item that resembles a firearm in shape.

The bill has received the support of the House K-12 Subcommittee, which includes several educators. At least one of the subcommittee’s members is a Democrat.

A similar proposal was made in March of 2013 by a state senator in Maryland, which has witnessed a disproportionate number of make-believe weapons infractions. It was there, in Anne Arundel County, that 7-year-old Josh Welch was suspended for his infamous Pop Tart escapade.

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