Leah Barkoukis

Kids will be kids no matter what a school’s policy is on playing with imaginary weapons. They’re going to play cops and robbers, they may chew their pop tart into the shape of a gun and yes, even throw imaginary grenades to save the world from evil forces.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, teachers and school administrators exercised zero-tolerance policies with regard to weapons—real or imagined—but they took it way too far. A heightened sensitivity after such a horrific event is understandable but not exercising any judgment is ridiculous. For many of the kids affected by such policies, it wasn’t just a matter of getting scolded—most of them got suspended and will thus have that on their permanent record.

Now, one lawmaker is taking action. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) introduced legislation this week that would block federal funding for schools that enforce policies that punish students for playing with imaginary weapons. Via The Hill:

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.

Schools would lose federal funds for punishing activities such as brandishing one’s food that is chewed into the shape of a gun, carrying miniature toy guns, having a Lego gun, pointing one’s fingers or writing instruments as if they were a gun, drawing or having a photo of a firearm or wearing clothing that supports the Second Amendment.

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


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography