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Oklahoma Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act proposal - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act proposal

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Students in Oklahoma may get an official "ok" from state legislatures to chew their pop tarts into the shape of a gun. A motion sparked after a seven year old in Maryland was suspended from school after he chewed a toy gun out of a breakfast pastry.   

"Sometimes I don't think they understand the ramifications of what a gun means." 

Ryan Cottrell is a father of two who teachers history at Fairland Public Schools. He says he agrees with a proposed Oklahoma bill dubbed the "Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act." Which would prevent school children in the state from being suspended from making a gun out of breakfast pastries. 

"Students need to be at school to learn, so if they are removed from school and they can't learn from maybe doing something with a Poptart, you know if they can be here that's the best," Cottrell said.
 
And even though this proposed legislation is being nicknamed the "Pastry Gun Bill" it involves other things besides just Poptarts. It includes children drawing guns on their notebook spirals, sporting pro-Second Amendment clothing; even bringing toy guns to school, or making gun gestures and sounds with their hands.

"I think that kids are allowed to make mistakes without it ending their academic career," said Fairland Public School Superintendent Mark Alexander.
 
Alexander says that even though he agrees with the sentiment behind the proposed legislation; that it would prevent schools in Oklahoma from making their own decisions on how to best deal with their kids. 

"When it does happen, we don't want legislation that says we can't react to it,"Alexander said.

But State Representative Sally Kern who introduced the bill says that some school districts have policies that are too strict or inflexible. And that's why she thinks its needed here in Oklahoma.
 
"No real harm is occurring, or going to occur, why in the world are we in a sense abusing our children like this," Kern said.
 
But for teachers and parents like Cottrell, often times situations like this can be prevented before students even enter the classroom door. 

"If you can teach your kids about guns and what they mean, then as a parent, that's our job as well," Cottrell said. 

The bill has only been introduced this week, but if it does pass the Oklahoma State House and Senate, it would aim to take effect in July 2014.

Find a Copy of the Introduced Bill Below: 

state of Oklahoma

2nd session of the 54th legislature (2014)

house bill 2351 by: kern

as introduced

an act relating to schools; creating the common sense zero tolerance act; prohibiting school districts from punishing students for certain actions; listing actions; providing for codification; providing for noncodification; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.

Be it enacted by the people of the state of Oklahoma:

section 1. New law a new section of law not to be codified in the Oklahoma statutes reads as follows:

this act shall be known and may be cited as the "common sense zero tolerance act".

Section 2. New law a new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma statutes as section 24-101.5 of title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

no school district, school administrator, teacher or other school employee shall punish, humiliate, intimidate, be condescending to, or bully a student, including suspension of the student as authorized pursuant to section 24-101.3 of title 70 of the Oklahoma statutes, as a result of any of the following actions by the student:

1. Brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a weapon;

2. Possession of a toy weapon which is five (5) inches or less;

3. Possession of a toy weapon made of plastic or wood snap-together building blocks;

4. Using a finger or hand to simulate a weapon;

5. Vocalizing imaginary firearms or munitions;

6. Wearing articles of clothing or accessories that support or advance second amendment rights or organizations. If a school requires students to wear uniforms, the provisions of this paragraph shall not be interpreted to supersede the uniform policy of the school;

7. Drawing a picture of, creating or possessing an image of, a firearm, military vehicle, aircraft or weapon or any object that supports second amendment rights or constitutional freedoms; or

8. Using a pencil, pen or other writing utensil to simulate a weapon.

Section 3. This act shall become effective July 1, 2014.

Section 4. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

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