Oklahoma Lawmaker: Stop Punishing Schoolchildren For Making Finger Guns

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A Republican Oklahoma legislator has just about had it with silly media reports of kids getting kicked out of school for making pistol shapes with their fingers or eating their Pop Tarts into the shapes of guns. So she’s drafting a State bill that would prevent schools from disciplining kids for being… well, kids.

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern is sponsoring what she calls the “Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act” in order to legislate the restraint that, in her opinion, adults ought to have been able to exercise on their own.

“Real intent, real threats and real weapons should always be dealt with immediately. We need to stop criminalizing children’s imagination and childhood play,” Kern told News9 in Oklahoma City last week. “We need to stop criminalizing children’s imagination and childhood play. If there’s no real intent, there’s no real threat, no real weapon, no real harm is occurring or going to occur — why in the world are we, in a sense, abusing our children like this?”

Her bill would forbid schools from taking action to “punish, humiliate, intimidate, be condescending to, or bully a student” found to be in “possession of a toy weapon.” It would also stop administrators from disciplining kids for “using a finger or hand to simulate at weapon,” “drawing a picture of a firearm” or making gun noises.

Predictably, the State’s teachers’ union is against the bill.

“The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards,” Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, told News9. “Educators are degreed professionals, trained and experienced in dealing with children.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.