“Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act” would stop punishment of children’s imagination and childhood play.
A legislator in Oklahoma has proposed legislation to ease the “zero tolerance” school policies that have created absurdities in which young children with toy or imaginary guns are punished.
We’re seen so many of these instances:
- 10-year old Johnny Jones suspended for shooting imaginary arrow
- The zero-tolerance war on kindergarteners
- 12-year old RI student suspended for small keychain “gun”
- Maryand school offers counseling for students troubled by “pastry gun” incident
- 6-year old brings Quarter-sized toy gun on bus, threatened with detention and suspension
- Second Grader Suspended for Pointing Pencil Like a Gun
The legislator has an opponent, the Oklahoma Education Association, as explained in this report:
A proposed law that would ease school rules when it comes to fake weapons is causing a stir.
It’s called the “Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act” and the bill’s author says it will protect children in school.
“Real intent, real threats and real weapons should always be dealt with immediately. We need to stop criminalizing children’s imagination and childhood play,” explained Sally Kern, Republican from Oklahoma City.
“If there’s no real intent, there’s no real threat, no real weapon, no real harm is occurring or going to occur, why in the world are we in a sense abusing our children like this.” ….
It also prevents schools from punishing students “using a finger or hand to simulate at weapon,” “vocalizing imaginary firearms” or “drawing a picture of a firearm.” But the Oklahoma Education Association isn’t on board with Kern’s proposed law.
“I fully trust Oklahoma educators to handle student discipline in an appropriate case-by-case manner. The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards. Educators are degreed professionals, trained and experienced in dealing with children,” explained O.E.A President Linda Hampton.
Of course, if individual teachers and schools acted appropriately on a case-by-case basis, we would not need such legislation.DONATE
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