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March 11th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

Md. State Sen. pushes legislation for 'responsible school discipline' in wake of child punished for making pastry gun

More than a week ago, children at Park Elementary School in Maryland went home with a letter explaining there was a disruption in school caused by 7-year-old Josh Welch. He was accused of biting a breakfast pastry to shape it into an object that resembled a gun, while allegedly saying "bang bang" with it. Welch was suspended for two days, but insists he did not do anything inappropriate.

Now, a lawmaker in that district has introduced a bill to make sure something like this does not happen again to other kids. This morning, Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings joins “Starting Point” to discuss his proposed legislation.

“The boards of educations have handcuffed the teachers and principals in these schools with this zero tolerance,” Jennings says. He adds that his proposed bill will give “discretionary back to the principals, back to the teachers.”

Senate Bill 1058, otherwise known as "The Responsible School Discipline Act of 2013" was introduced in Maryland State Senate on Friday. Jennings says his legislation has started a necessary discussion that he hopes the boards of education will take and “move forward with it.” He adds that his constituents want the zero-tolerance policy addressed so, “that these school boards will lay off some of these children [and] give the teachers and principals more flexibility to handle this in the classroom.”

Filed under: Education • Law
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