A measure inspired by the story of a young Maryland boy who got suspended for chewing his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun cleared its first Senate committee Monday. But, some say the bill aimed at loosening Florida schools’ zero-tolerance policies regarding kids and guns goes a little too far.
Currently, a Florida student could face suspension or referral to the state’s juvenile justice system for using a finger as an imaginary gun and making a gun sound, or wearing clothing with a gun on it. And, the National Rifle Association’s Marion Hammer says she knows of even more extreme examples.
“A five-year-old little girl was talking with classmates at recess about playing with her Hello Kitty bubble gun, which blows soapy bubbles. They were laughing and talking about taking turns shooting each other with bubbles. The school accused her of making a terrorist threat, suspended her from school for 10 days, told her parents the police might have to get involved, and demanded she get a psychological evaluation,” said Hammer.
It’s one of several examples Hammer and others have given. But, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith says while he likes certain parts of the bill, their testimony may not be a good enough reason to pass it in its current form.
“We may be getting into a little bit of trouble by getting a little too specific by looking at too many vignettes and too many “bad facts scenarios,” and making the law tailored to bad facts, and I think that is a concern,” said Smith.
The measure passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee 5-2 with Democrats opposed. They also voted against a measure that would allow for the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit during a mandatory evacuation.
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