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One Year Since Chewing Breakfast Bar Into Shape of a Gun, 9-Year-Old Just Hopes to Clear His Name


"Zero tolerance takes away the ability to think..."

Josh Welch (Image source: WJLA-TV)

With a couple of well-placed chomps led by an imagination only a second-grader could muster, Josh Welch has become a poster boy of sorts for the lengths that zero tolerance for guns in schools can travel.

Josh Welch (Image source: WJLA-TV) Josh Welch (Image source: WJLA-TV) 

Now a little over a year since Welch was suspended for two days after nibbling a breakfast cereal bar into the shape of a gun, all he and his family want is his record cleared, reported WJLA-TV in Arlington, Virginia.

"Zero tolerance takes away the ability to think and to make judgment calls on certain scenarios," Welch's father BJ told WJLA.

He added that his son's punishment still feels "outrageous."

Here's a little flashback:

Afterward politicians scrambled to take up his cause. He even got a free lifetime membership with the NRA:

Welch is now 9 and told WJLA that all the hubbub stemming from his infractions seem a blur: “I don't think I remember because that was like a year ago."

But they apparently were fresh in the mind of his Park Elementary School teacher who said during a Tuesday hearing — which is supposed to determine if Welch's record will be cleared — that the suspension wasn’t about a so-called "Pop-Tart gun."

No, Jessica Fultz said it was about Welch's pattern of classroom disruption that got worse on a daily basis — and even violence and threats toward classmates and making shooting noises. And the chewing his food into the shape of a gun? That happened more than once, Fultz said.

That's news to Welch's dad. “I don't think he was suspended because he was being rowdy," he told WJLA. "I think he was suspended because of the sensitive nature of the topic."

"I'm thinking some of the stuff I don't remember, and why can't I go back in the past to fix that stuff," Josh noted.

The next step? A hearing officer will make a recommendation to the school board, which will then decide whether or not to clear Josh's record.

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