Maryland eyes ‘Pastry Gun Freedom Act’

To prevent the criminalization of boyhood, a Maryland legislator has proposed the “Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act” banning schools from punishing children for having something that might look like a gun but isn’t,  reports The Daily Caller. (Really, it’s called the Reasonable School Discipline Act.)

The bill also includes a section mandating counseling for school officials who fail to distinguish between guns and things that resemble guns. School officials who fail to make such a distinction more than once would face discipline themselves.

Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican, worries that suspensions will go on children’s “permanent records,” he told the Star Democrat.

Recently, a second-grade boy at a Baltimore school was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he’d nibbled a strawberry  toaster pastry into the shape of a gun. School officials sent a letter to parents — for real — offering counseling to students traumatized by the incident, reports Reason’s Hit&Run, which notes it’s not clear whether students were expected to be troubled by the snack or the suspension.

In the last few months, six-year-old boys at two Maryland elementary schools were suspended for pointing fingers and saying “pow” while playing.

Of course, not-gun hysteria is a nationwide phenomenon.

In Colorado, a second grader was suspended for pretending to throw a grenade at “evil forces” in order to “save the world.”  The school has a zero tolerance policy for real or pretend fighting. His mom thinks a child shouldn’t be suspended for trying to save the world — and maybe it’s not realistic to ban little boys from playing at soldiers.

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  1. I suppose asking the question of the reason for the need for such a law would be just too demanding for our elected representatives. It’s certainly too demanding a question for most people outside the political realm to consider not excluding these august environs.

  2. > the reason for the need for such a law

    A student was suspended from school for eating his pastry into the shape of a gun (whether that was his actual intent was apparently irrelevant, all that counts is that a gun-shape emerged). This sort of petty tyranny is not the sort of thing to be borne lightly by free people, hence an immediate, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, response by lawmakers.

    This chain of causation hardly seems “demanding” in any way.

    When you look at the history of tyranny, it seems to me that the petty forms are usually the most hated. They are the most foolish, the least justified and the most intended to provoke.

    • I suppose I could have better worded my post but my point is that there seems to be essentially no attention being given to the reason that ostensibly sane adults would engage in this sort of behavior.

      I dismiss without consideration explanations like “they’re stupid” or “they’re crazy” which leaves what as a explanation for the aggravating behavior?

      This law is present as a remedy but without understanding what motivates or rewards such petty tyranny the law’s being passed in ignorance and the resulting ineffectiveness should come as no surprise. But it will.

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        “crazy” is probably just a matter of annoyance. “stupid” is literally true. If you do something stupid not by accident, you’re stupid.
        The law may prevent petty tyrants from being petty tyrants due to fear of sanctions. It’s a start.
        Some kind of personality test for administrators, or even possibly teachers, might be a longer term answer, presuming such tests are valid.
        The point is that this and similar incidents are so stupid that you couldn’t make this stuff up. Actually, youi could, but you wouldn’t bother because who’d believe it?
        Point of the law is to prevent such stupidity when the petty tyrant fears sanctions.
        Obviously, ridicule from the lower orders isn’t a threat, and may even be seen as validation.
        It’s possible there are rational administrators–proportion unknown–but those who are, by the above definition, “stupid” might need to be restrained by external forces. Even an amoeba can learn, if it runs into a sharp edge enough times.