The Washington Post

A law to protect Pop-Tart guns

Earlier this month, a 7-year-old boy’s nibbling got him into hot water at Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County.

The boy nibbled a “rectangular strawberry-filled bar” — let us refer to it as a Pop-Tart — into a gun.

“Bang, bang,” he allegedly said.

“Suspended,” was the response from the principal’s office.

The case attracted attention from around the country. George Will referred to the boy, in jest, as “The Pop-Tart Terrorist.”

The boy’s father, William “B.J.” Welch, was miffed.

“It was harmless,” he said. “It was a danish.”

State Sen. J. B. Jennings (R-Baltimore, Hartford counties) apparently agrees. Late last week, he introduced legislation titled “The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013.”

The measure would prevent principals from suspending or expelling students who make “a hand shape or gesture resembling a gun” or bring to school “any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose.”

The proposed law allows suspensions or expulsions only in cases where the student uses such instruments in “a direct act of violence against another student.” Otherwise, less draconian measures — parent conferences, appropriate counseling — are called for.

(You can read the legislation here.)

“We really need to reevaluate how kids are punished,” Jennings told the Star Democrat, adding, “These kids can’t comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions.”

What do you think of the proposal?

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans