Putting Education Reform To The Test

Zero Tolerance May Not Extend To Pop-Tarts Under Gun Bill

A new bill would make chewing these into guns a less severe offense in Florida schools.

Robyn Lee (roboppy) / flickr

A new bill would make chewing these into guns a less severe offense in Florida schools.

Pop-Tarts chewed into the shape of a gun would not be grounds for suspension under a bill passed Thursday by the House Education Committee.

The bill is supposed to cut down on the number of students arrested because of zero tolerance policies.

The ‘Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act’ is known as the Pop-Tart bill after a 7-year-old in Maryland was suspended from school for biting his snack into the shape of a gun.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala – the man behind Florida’s Stand Your Ground law – sponsors the bill.

“I think it does lay down the proper balance and hopefully will be an example and an opportunity for administrators to feel they are empowered to make those common sense judgments,” Baxley said.

So far, the bill is getting bipartisan support.

Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Dunedin, said he’s seen situations where kids did not deserve the punishment they received under zero tolerance policies.

“What I really like about this bill is it still allows for disciplinary action if it is a threat,” Zimmerman said. “If a kid comes to a teacher and points their finger and goes ‘pow,’ like that as a threat, they can still be disciplined. This just takes the absurdity out.”

The bill clarifies that students should not be disciplined for simulating a weapon while playing or wearing something that shows a weapon.

The bill is now ready for debate by the full House.


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