"Pop-Tart" Bill Aims to Ease Up Zero Tolerance Policy

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PANAMA CITY - A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature would prohibit schools from punishing children who simulate firearms. House education panel members passed the so-called pop-tart bill Wednesday.

The pop-tart bill is earned its name after Maryland school officials suspended a 7 year old boy for chewing his pop-tart into the shape of a gun.

Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley is the bill's sponsor and believes some school officials occasionally carry Florida's Zero Tolerance Policy too far.

"A well intended, very good policy, but a hard interpretation of it has yielded some very overreactive responses," said Rep. Baxley.

His proposal would allow children to simulate guns without being punished. The bill specifically address images of guns in pastries, toys, and clothing.

"We feel that this bill will provide that layer of common sense, restoration, and connect that spirit of the law and order of the law," said Rep. Baxley.

Bay District School officials say they'll still have zero tolerance for student who bring real guns on campus, but they seem to agree with this proposed legislation.

"When it's clear that a child is simply bringing a toy without any intent to threaten or hurt or harm others, then I think that the district's position is to take a realistic look at that," said Lee Stafford, Director of Student Services.

The bill now goes to the full house education committee for debate.

The punishment for students brining real guns on-campus is suspension, expulsion and possible criminal charges.


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