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Impact of proposed "Common Sense" Zero Tolerance Act

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ELGIN, Okla._An Oklahoma Representative has introduced a bill that would prevent schools from punishing students for bringing toy guns to school or simulating a gun with their fingers.

The "Common Sense" Zero Tolerance Act was proposed by Republican Representative Sally Kern, she did it as a reaction to events in other states where young children were disciplined for apparently harmless actions, like chewing a pop tart in the shape of a gun, or drawing pictures of a weapon.

Taking a closer look at the bill, it's easy to see that it even goes beyond banning punishment. It says no school employee can humiliate, intimidate or be condescending to a student.

"I really don't feel like there is a need for this bill, I do not feel like the bill will pass. I feel like it will be lobbied against because it does take away the local control of the school district and we do not need more mandates on discipline."

Elgin Public School Superintendent, Tom Crimmins said they already have principals and teachers to decide whether or not a student should be punished for their actions.

"We feel like we have local control and polices in place to deal with any of those actions and that we use common sense by our teachers and administrators anytime we have a situation of this nature," said Crimmins.

Republican Representative Ann Coody agrees with Kern's idea that there should be a common sense law for these situations, but she still thinks there should be local control.

"I like the idea of having an administrator to be able to make a judgment call on whether that student meant that to be a violation of the law or the rule of the school or whether he was too young to really understand," said Coody.

Coody believes the bill should be tailored to only include younger children because there is no reason for a high school student to bring a toy gun to school. Crimmins said it's important for parents to know their children's school polices and to communicate it to them.

"Parents need to teach children the responsibility of dealing with weapons, whether they're real weapons or toy weapons because either one of them can get you in a lot of trouble," said Crimmins.

Kern's measure also mentions clothing, and prevents punishing a student for wearing something that supports second amendment rights or organizations. 

You can read a copy of the proposed bill here.

 

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