CARSON CITY, NV - Members of the Assembly Committee on Education were treated to a snack at their afternoon hearing on AB 121: Pop-Tarts.
It was a reference to a case out of Maryland where a second-grader was suspended from school for chewing his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. This bill would help ensure something like that doesn't happen here in Nevada.
AB 121 would prohibit schools from punishing students in grades K-8 for "simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon" or "wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon."
"This bill is a common sense bill, it's that simple," Assemblyman Jim Wheeler said as he went through the proposed legislation. "It just returns common sense back to our school system."
Toy guns less than two inches long would also be allowed on school grounds.
"A little plastic gun that small is not going to be mistaken for a real gun," Wheeler said.
He says the bill preserves the Constitutional rights of students. It was met with widespread support.
"This kind of reminds me of the debate the founding fathers had regarding the Bill of Rights," Assemblyman Chris Edwards said. "Many of them thought they would never need a Bill of Rights because no government would ever violate things like freedom of speech. However, wisdom won out and they put in those precautions just to make sure those things wouldn't happen to us. I think they were very wise to do so."
There was opposition as well. One concerned parent says she didn't think toys of any kind should be allowed at school. She was also concerned with the clothing issue.
"If a child wears a t-shirt that says I support my right to keep and bear arms but it shows two stick figures and one is standing over the other with a gun, is that still okay? I think we're opening ourselves up to a slippery slope."
The bill allows for punishment of students simulating weapons if they cause a disruption in class or fear of bodily harm to another person.
Florida and Texas have passed similar legislation.