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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada senators favorably reviewed a Republican-backed bill barring schools from punishing students for playing with toy guns.
Members of the Senate Education Committee held a hearing Tuesday on AB121, which already passed the Assembly on a 24-17 party-line vote.
Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is sponsoring the so-called Pop-Tarts measure, which would forbid elementary and middle schools from punishing students who play with toy guns or pretend to use a firearm.
It also extends protections to students who wear clothing with images of firearms, use hand gestures to imitate a gun or brandish partially eaten pastries in the shape of a weapon. The measure wouldn't overrule a school uniform policy, and students could be punished for "substantially" disrupting the educational environment.
Wheeler, who shared blueberry Pop-Tarts with committee members before the hearing, said he wanted to avoid schools punishing students for constitutionally protected actions.
"All of the publicity aside, this bill isn't about Pop-Tarts," he said. "This bill isn't about the Second Amendment. It's about the First and 10th amendments."
States including Florida and Texas have passed similar legislation after a highly publicized 2013 incident in which a Maryland second-grader was suspended over a Pop-Tart chewed into the shape of a gun.
Several school district lobbyists testified neutral on the bill and said they worked with Wheeler to address most of their concerns in the bill. No one opposed the bill, and committee Chairwoman Becky Harris said she received 126 emails in support of the measure.
The committee took no action on the bill.