Debate Magazine

Suspension For Student Who Chewed Pop Tart Into Shape Of Gun Should Be Upheld

By Eowyn @DrEowyn


In March 2013 I reported about a boy who was suspended for two days after biting his breakfast pastry into a shape that his teacher thought looked like a gun. At that time, school sent home a letter with every student informing parents that: ‘A student used food to make an inappropriate gesture.‘ The school has decided to uphold the suspension.


CBS DC: A school official has deemed that a school suspension for a student who chewed a Pop Tart into the shape of gun should be upheld.

Sandra Blondell, principal at Park Elementary School, removed the 7-year-old boy from class during the incident that took place in March 2013. Now, Andrew Nussbaum, a lawyer who is serving as a hearing examiner for various school systems around Washington, rendered a 30-page opinion Monday which agreed with Blondell’s actions.

The boy, according to Nussbaum’s opinion, told his classmates, after nibbling the breakfast pastry: “Look, I made a gun,” CBS News reported.

“As much as the parents want this case to be about a ‘gun,’ it is, rather, a case about classroom disruption from a student who has had a long history of disruptive behavior,” Nussbaum wrote in his opinion, which was dated June 26, The Washington Post reported.

The hearing examiner explained that the suspension occurred because of disciplinary problems the boy had, not just because of what he did to the Pop Tart.

“Had the student chewed his cereal bar into the shape of a cat and ran around the room, disrupting the classroom and making ‘meow’ cat sounds, the result would have been exactly the same,” Nussbaum wrote, according to The Post.

The student’s attorney is threatening to take the case further if the decision is upheld. An attorney representing the boy’s family, Robin Ficker, explained that the child had “minor” disciplinary problems and that suspending him from school was going too far.

“It seems to me that schools need, with all their expertise and experience, they need to know how to deal with 7-year-old second-graders without putting them out of the educational setting,” Ficker told CBS News. “They need to deal with them rather than just throwing in the towel.”

“If they can’t deal with 7-year-olds, how can they deal with 17-year-olds?”

Exceptions to Nussbaum’s opinion will be filed to the local school by Ficker. He said if they don’t rescind the suspension that he will file to the state school board. His last effort will be to take the case to court if all else fails.

“I don’t see why this child should be branded in this way,” Ficker said. “It seems we have a lot of school personnel and they are unwilling to admit they went too far on that particular day.”

Nussbaum’s recommendation will go to the school board who will then decide whether or not to uphold its decision.

The boy has transferred to another school.


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