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Right on Crime | April 4, 2013
Right on Crime has for some time now noted the overcriminalization of our schools and the general lack of common sense in implementing school discipline policies.
This trend may have hit its apex when a seven-year-old in Maryland took a few bites out of a toaster pastry, noticed it looked like a gun, and said so. He may have even thrown in a “bang-bang” sound effect for good measure.
The school felt this behavior warranted a suspension. The seven-year-old—a second grader—was suspended for two days.
Overcriminalization in schools and a dearth of common sense in applying discipline policies have created a system where this behavior was deemed so disruptive the student must be sent home for two days.
Now, the Maryland Legislature is considering legislation that would prohibit the suspension or expulsion for pictures of guns or hand shapes resembling guns when no direct acts of violence are involved. Instead, in those instances, schools with concerns about students’ behavior would have to call in the parents for a conference.
Irrespective of legislative action, parental involvement should always be a component of school discipline. Common sense should always be used to implement school discipline policies that keep students safe and avoid overreliance on the court system.
And toaster pastries should be conclusively deemed non-threatening and non-disruptive.