Rep. Sally Kern wants to ease school policies on toy guns
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —
Oklahoma schoolchildren could not be punished for chewing their breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun under a bill introduced by a Republican legislator.
Representative Sally Kern said Wednesday her measure dubbed the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act was in response to school districts having policies that are too strict or inflexible. She cited a recent Maryland case where a boy was suspended from school for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.
Under Kern's bill, students couldn't be punished for possessing small toy weapons or using writing utensils, fingers or their hands to simulate a weapon. Students also couldn't be punished for drawing pictures of weapons or wearing clothes that "support or advance Second Amendment rights or organizations."
"It's common sense. There's more important things in the world than a pastry," said concerned parent, Tameika Gaines.
"They're just playing with it. I don't see anything wrong with it at all," added parent Myrtle Viewins.
State Representative Sally Kern authored "The Common Sense Zero Tolerance Bill."
"This bill is just to protect children as they innocently play," Kern said.
While most parents are on board for that part of the measure, they don't agree with the rest of the bill. The policy would allow kids to take toy guns or weapons to school as long as they are smaller than five inches and made of plastic or wood snap-together building blocks.
"It can confuse them. They don't get it. They're just babies. They don't understand what a real gun can do," said parent, Kay Normand.
"We don't allow guns in our house let alone school. Not toy guns not play guns no," added Gaines.
Kern said toy guns meeting the criteria do not resemble real guns or pose any real danger.
They're using their imagination. No real harm is being done so why punish the children."
Some parents agree. "It's their toys. If they're allowed to play with them at home then that's up to the parent to control," said Viewins.
But many still think the classroom is no place for a gun of any kind.
"It's a threat still, to the teachers to the other students. It can show potentially what goes on at home," said Gaines.
Kern said the bill is still being worked on but the bottom line is clear.
"Let's act like adults and say this kid is just playing."