GOP bill would defund schools with rules against playing with imaginary guns

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.

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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.


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He also noted the 14-year-old Kentucky student who was suspended from school for wearing a National Rifle Association shirt that said, "Protect your rights."

"This government-sanctioned political correctness is traumatizing children and spreading irrational fear," the bill states.

The legislation seeks to stop these practices by blocking federal funds to any school that punishes students for a select list of activities. Those activities include carrying miniature toy guns, and "brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a gun."

The pastry language is a response to a Maryland student who partially ate a Pop Tart to make it look like a gun and was suspended.

Schools would also have funding blocked if they get students in trouble for possessing a Lego gun, using fingers and thumbs or writing instruments to simulate a gun, wearing clothing supporting the Second Amendment, and drawing or possessing pictures of guns.