A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would block funding to schools that prohibit children from playing with imaginary guns.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, says the Student Protection Act aims to stop the enforcement of policies that "punish innocent children" by cutting funds to schools that abuse "zero tolerance" weapons policies.
"Something must be done to restore sanity to the schoolroom," Stockman said Tuesday in a statement. "The Student Protection Act would end the practice of using federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize schools that enforce these policies that abuse and harm young children."
In March, second-grader Josh Welch was suspended from a Maryland elementary school after unknowingly biting a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun.
"I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top of it, and it kind of looked like a gun," Welch told a local Fox affiliate at the time.
In May, also in Maryland, a 5-year-old boy who brought an orange-tipped cap gun onto his Calvert County school bus was suspended for 10 days, according to his family and a lawyer. The child was grilled for more than two hours by a school principal and wet himself, according to his family.
Stockman cited the two gun-related punishments, as well as the suspension and arrest of a 14-year-old boy in Kentucky who wore an NRA T-shirt to school that said, 'Protect your right.'
The bill states that "zero tolerance" weapons policies "are being used to outlaw harmless expressions of childhood play" and "are being used to teach children to be afraid of inanimate objects that are shaped like guns."
Schools would face cuts in federal funding if they punish students for specific activities, including carrying toy guns, using a finger or hand to simulate a gun and wearing a T-shirt that supports Second Amendment rights.
"Schools should be places where children learn. Punishing children for playing 'cops and robbers' or taking a bite out of a Pop-Tart that makes it somewhat resemble a gun is not healthy for children," Stockman said.
Fox News' Perry Chiaramonte contributed to this report.