Park Elementary is one of those schools that has a "zero tolerance" policy. Schools have been in the news for this for the past decade or so. Zero tolerance is supposed to make things safer and the kids feel more secure. Instead, it gives the kids an up close and personal view of bureaucracy gone mad. Kids have been suspended for giving lemon drops because of zero tolerance for drugs. A kindergartener was suspended for kissing one of his classmates because of zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Kids have been suspended for bringing a plastic butter knife from home to cut their lunch because of zero tolerance for weapons on school grounds.
The weapons one is the most insane. Kids have been suspended for making a gun out of LEGO blocks. One kid was suspended when he brought the toy gun for a GI Joe figure. Another was suspended when he found a plastic knife in his lunch bag and took it to the teacher -- instead of being commended for his honesty, he got bounced. One kid simply positioned his hand like a gun, index finger out and thumb cocked, made a couple of bang bang noise, and he got suspended, too. All this shit goes on a student's permanent record, helping to keep them out of the really good schools.
So you probably know where this is going -- Welch was chewing a pastry last month and his teacher claimed he chewed it into the shape of a gun (I'm really curious what kind of school this is where the bullies beating up kids aren't violating anything but teachers are inspecting what the kids are eating).
J.B. Jennings is a Republican State Senator who was shocked by this. He didn't think the story was real. I guess he doesn't read the same newspapers I do. Anyway, Jennings has introduced a bill that would override zero tolerance policies for seemingly harmless childish acts, such as fingers pointed like guns or, yes, chewing your food into the shape of a gun. "These kids can't comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions." Not only would schools be prohibited from doing it, but school administrators who violate the guidelines would be subject to counseling and disciplinary action.
As the pendulum begins to swing the other way....