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Boy Suspended Over Pop-Tart Gun Seeks to Clear School Record

Nine-year-old Josh Welch is seeking to have his suspension removed from his school record. Anne Arundel County Schools official suspended him for two days in 2013 for allegedly shaping his food to look like a gun.

Nine-year-old Josh Welch and his parents are seeking to have his suspension removed from his school record. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV
Nine-year-old Josh Welch and his parents are seeking to have his suspension removed from his school record. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV

Is 9-year-old Josh Welch a threat to classmates who has more than once shaped his school meals into a gun? Or is he a victim of an Anne Arundel County school system that can’t evaluate a situation and has unfairly penalized a child?

A hearing was held Tuesday for the boy who has become a national symbol for gun rights advocates. Josh’s family sought to clear his school record after he was suspended from the second grade for two days in March 2013 for reportedly nibbling a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

Afterward, politicians scrambled to his cause, and one even gave him a lifetime membership to the NRA.

According to an earlier Patch story, Josh said he was suspended two days for fashioning his food into what his teacher interpreted as a gun. But Josh and his father said he was making a mountain out of his food, and not a gun.

The boy’s father still calls the punishment “outrageous.”

"Zero tolerance takes away the ability to think and to make judgment calls on certain scenarios," said B.J. Welch in a WJLA TV report.

Josh said this week that the incident is difficult for him to recall. “I don't think I remember because that was like a year ago."

At Tuesday’s hearing, for the first time Josh’s teacher and the Anne Arundel County School system gave their version of the events from a year ago at Park Elementary School in Baltimore.

Teacher Jessica Fultz claims that the suspension wasn’t about a so-called "Pop-Tart gun," but rather a daily pattern of escalating classroom disruption and even violence by Josh.

Fultz also claims that the boy had threatened classmates and made shooting noises, chewing the gun shape with his breakfast food more than once.

Josh’s father says that the claim that his son disrupted class was not shared with him before.

“I don't think he was suspended because he was being rowdy. I think he was suspended because of the sensitive nature of the topic," Welch said.

The hearing officer will make a recommendation about the incident to the Anne Arundel school board, which will then decide whether or not to clear Josh's record.

RPB May 01, 2014 at 11:21 AM
I think Josh Welch could be a threat to other children. What happens if every one starts eating Pop-Tarts. The Pop-Tarts may not be a healthy diet and what happens if some of the children eat them in the shape of knifes. WHAT A JOKE AND THIS IS THE IDOITS YOUR CHILDEN ARE LEARNING FROM! Great waste of your tax dollars!
L.B. May 05, 2014 at 09:48 AM
I so agree they should fire the whole lot of those adult IDIOTS
Robert Richardson May 09, 2014 at 09:49 PM
Sure the pop tart gun had no bullets, but what if next time he chews it into a sword? He could be come a sword swallower or he might even threaten other students with the sword. He should be removed from this school and be home schooled.
knee jerk May 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM
What if he chewed it into the shape of a penis? Would he be "hit on" by his teacher?
Thomas Watkins May 12, 2014 at 08:35 AM
It amazes me that we want our children to be as smart as they can be but we hire idiots to teach them.

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