Florida state lawmakers are proposing what has been called the “Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act” in an effort to protect schoolchildren from harsh punishment for fashioning their fingers or food objects into toy guns, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The Florida proposal asserts that “simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing certain clothing or accessories is not grounds for disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.”
Among the actions that the Florida law aims to protect is “Brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or weapon.”
Students as young as kindergarten have been disciplined or suspended across the U.S. for pretending to wield or fire guns — a behavior that many believe is normal for kids.
The Florida law will also protect toy guns that are less than two inches in length, guns fashioned out of “plastic snap-together building blocks,” the use of fingers or hands used to simulate firearms, vocalizing weapons or firearms, drawing pictures of possessing images of firearms and using writing utensils to simulate weapons.
The Florida proposal does allow for reasonable punishment should the make-believe weaponry get out of hand. (RELATED: ‘Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act’ proposed in Maryland)
“However, a student may be subject to disciplinary action if simulating a firearm or weapon while playing substantially disrupts student learning, causes bodily harm to another person, or places another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm,” the proposed law reads.
Last year Maryland Republican state Sen. J.B. Jennings made a similar proposal. “We really need to re-evaluate how kids are punished,” Jennings told The Star Democrat. “These kids can’t comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions.” Jennings’s bill was a response to the suspension of a 7-year-old Baltimore student who chewed a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.
The Maryland law failed to pass through committee. Florida lawmakers will review the latest proposal next Wednesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
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