The public education system in Maryland has officially gone off the deep end.
The Old Line State — where kids have been suspended for making guns with their fingers and with toaster pastries — now boasts a school district that prohibits hugging and homemade food in public elementary schools for anyone except a parent’s own children.
Parents must also register to enter the playground and they can’t push anyone except their own kids on the swings.
The Enterprise, a member of Southern Maryland Newspapers, has the story.
Officials with St. Mary’s County Public Schools say the new rules are necessary to provide a generally safe environment.
A committee composed of parents and elementary school principals created the regulations after a handful of meetings last year. Other new rules include a ban on ad-hoc parent-teacher conferences. The distribution of birthday invitations on school grounds is also now verboten.
“We’re not violating anybody’s rights,” Superintendent Michael Martirano told The Enterprise.
“We think it’s the right balance between safety and parental involvement,” Kelly Hall, a school district official, explained to The Enterprise.
“At the same time, parents were expressing some concerns,” Hall added.
“It is sad that it needs to be done for the safety of our children,” parent Sherry Whittles told The Enterprise. Whittles added that she agrees with the new rules.
“I think this is horrible,” school board member Cathy Allen opined to The Enterprise. “Elements of this are going to decrease parent involvement.”
For whatever reason, Maryland has been ground zero for school districts propounding goofy laws lately. Until now, though, those laws seem to have been limited to restricting things that represent guns but aren’t actually anything like real guns.
At Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring, a six-year-old boy was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” (RELATED: Pow! You’re suspended, kid)
A second-grader in Baltimore was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a strawberry, pre-baked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun. (RELATED: Second-grader suspended for breakfast pastry)
In response to the infamous breakfast pastry incident, a Maryland state senator has crafted a bill to curb the zeal of public school officials who are tempted to suspend students as young as kindergarten for having things — or eating things — that aren’t actually anything like real guns. (RELATED: ‘Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act’ proposed in Maryland)