Soledad O'Brien came down hard on legislation proposed by Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings — which he introduced after a seven-year old was suspended for biting a pastry into the shape of a gun — on Monday's "Starting Point."
Jenning's proposed legislation would, absent an act of actual violence at school, prohibit students from being suspended for making hands or gestures resembling a gun. It would also prohibit students from being expelled for having something at school that resembles a gun but serves a different purpose.
On Monday, O'Brien said both the student's expulsion and Jenning's bill showed a "lack of flexibility" in how schools deal with small children. Jennings said that the bill would free schools from a "zero tolerance" policy, but O'Brien was still not convinced.
"The point that I was even doing an interview with a seven year old boy about biting his danish into the shape of a gun and he had been suspended was ridiculous," she said. "The fact that we’re continuing the conversation around something that seems to be common sense and reasonable behavior for people who are dealing with little people... it seems like flexibility is what is needed and legislation, I guess I just think you’re going up the wrong tree on this one."
When asked if she agreed with the suspension, O'Brien said she thought it was "unreasonable," but so was the bill. "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 said. Jennings said that his constituents want the issue addressed so that schools have more flexibility in how they react to similar situations.
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