Zero-tolerance policies are out of control. What started as school board attempts to stop students from bringing guns into school has turned into an anti-Second-Amendment movement, with significant social consequences.
I was shocked in August when a Summerville student made national news after he was suspended and arrested for writing a fictional essay about buying a gun to shoot his neighbor’s pet dinosaur. This latest kooky enforcement of zero-tolerance policies, which fail to consider any facts, was all the more shocking because it occurred in South Carolina, where Republicans and Democrats alike embrace our constitutional right to bear arms.
So I began drafting a bill to extend reasonable free expression to school students to include gun-related topics. As I thought through the results of our national zero-tolerance policies, it occurred to me that we are raising a nation of children to believe that any mention of firearms, let alone their ownership, is socially unacceptable, if not evil.
My proposed Second Amendment Education Act would require that a portion of our state-mandated study of the U.S. Constitution be devoted to the Second Amendment. It also celebrates our nation’s gun rights by establishing an annual student poster and essay contest.
Zero-tolerance policies that target expression regarding firearms erode our Second Amendment protections and are designed to turn out a nation of students who are ignorant to our forefathers’ intent that all Americans be afforded the means by which to protect themselves and, ultimately, the freedoms that we too often take for granted.
Rep. Alan Clemmons