Reporting Kai Jackson
BROOKLYN PARK, Md. (WJZ) — There is renewed controversy over the little boy suspended from school for his Pop-Tart shaped like a gun. The 8-year-old has just been awarded a lifetime membership to the NRA.
Kai Jackson explains some say this sends the wrong message.
From a pastry pistol to a lifetime membership with the NRA. This has been a strange journey for an 8-year-old boy from Brooklyn Park.
Josh Welch and his father, William, were quite surprised when the second grader was suspended in March for two days from his school, Park Elementary in Brooklyn Park, Anne Arundel County.
The system said they suspended Josh because he shaped a pastry into a gun and said inappropriate things.
“It wasn’t a big deal to him, so he figured he could go ‘bang, bang,’ and he was just playing around,” said William Welch, father.
The Welch’s were surprised again on Wednesday night.
“We would like to award you with a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association,” NRA members said.
Some Anne Arundel County Republicans, who also believe the school system went too far by suspending Josh and who disagree with the state’s Democrat-led gun control efforts, decided to give Josh a lifetime NRA membership.
Kai: “You realize there are some people who might believe that you and your son are being used?”
William: “I’ve heard that from a couple people. You know, online and just people, I don’t know, strangers. And I don’t feel that way.”
Kai: “Josh, do you know what the NRA is?”
Josh: “Yes, I know what it stands for: National Rifle Association.”
Josh Welch says things are pretty much back to normal at Park Elementary School. His friends no longer ask him about the pastry pistol, and quite frankly, he’s tired of talking about it.
The group “Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence” says mock guns in schools are not the problem.
“The main problem is guns in the wrong hands,” said Vincent DeMarco, Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence.
That NRA lifetime membership is worth $550. Josh is the first member of his immediate family to have an NRA membership.
Meanwhile, his father filed an appeal. He’s trying to get that suspension expunged from Josh’s record. He believes it might hurt his son academically down the road.
Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit announced he will fund another membership for Welch: the American Civil Liberties Union. Benoit says he wants the boy to have a chance at another point of view.