The Hill –
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) introduced legislation this week to block federal funding for schools that enforce rules that punish students for playing with imaginary weapons.
The Student Protection Act, H.R. 2625, is a reaction to what Stockman says is the zero tolerance policy at some schools that has led to several suspensions of very young children who engage in these activities, including cases where students pretended their thumb and index finger is a gun.
The bill finds that these school policies are being used to outlaw “harmless expressions of childhood play,” and are only teaching students to “be afraid of inanimate objects that are shaped like guns.”
Stockman cited several examples, such as a school in Nebraska that demanded a three-year old deaf boy change his name because it resembled a gun when expressed in sign language. He said a seven-year-old in Colorado was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade, and that two six-year-old boys in Maryland were suspended for playing cops and robbers and using their fingers as guns.