CNN host Soledad O’Brien did not have much patience Monday for a Maryland state senator who recently introduced legislation aimed at preventing children from being punished for making gun references in the classroom.
Despite his earnestness, O’Brien was not convinced that a classroom misunderstanding is cause for legislation. “The original problem to me seemed there was a lack of flexibility in understanding how to deal with small children,” she said.
Jennings argued that his legislation was necessary to get the school boards talking about “zero tolerance” policies that contribute to suspensions in cases where the infraction is relatively minor. “That’s why I put this legislation in,” he said. “It has started the discussion. Look, here you and I are sitting here talking about it on national TV. Now it’s being addressed. Hopefully the boards of education will take this and move forward with it.”
“But I thought talking about it on national TV with a kid and his dad was also a mistake because it was silly that it got to that,” she replied. “The point that I was even doing an interview with a 7-year-old boy about biting his danish into the shape of a gun and got suspended was ridiculous.’
O’Brien added that she feels Jennings is “going up the wrong tree” by proposing legislation when just a little more flexibility in the classroom is what’s needed. “If you were my state senator, I’d want you to be doing other things and not worrying about the danish shaped into a gun to be perfectly honest,” she concluded.
This video is from CNN’s “Starting Point,” aired Monday, March 11, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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