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Md. Boy’s Suspension Stands For Molding Pastry Into Gun & Other Conduct Issues

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Joshua Welch
Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Anne Arundel County school officials are defending their decision to keep a suspension on the record of an elementary school student suspended after chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun and threatening other students.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on why the school says the fake gun was not the only contributing factor to their decision.

The boy’s behavior in school is detailed in a 30-page document that shows a pattern of threatening other students and even throwing chairs at his classmates.

It’s a school suspension that got national attention after Park Elementary School student Joshua Welch chewed his pastry into the shape of a gun, resulting in a two-day suspension.

“It was blue and it was rectangle; it was a cherry one,” Joshua said.

The incident took place last year when Joshua was 7 years old. It happened during a time of increased sensitivity to guns after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Yet, Joshua’s family says their son got suspended over simple child’s play. They say a suspension was an overreaction to a kid being a kid.

“I don’t see a reason for it to be there, and that’s been my goal from day one to have it removed from his record,” Joshua’s father, William Welch, said.

But there is more to this story.

In a 30-page document obtained by WJZ, the hearing examiner describes a history of behavioral problems, including punching other students in the face.

In the findings of facts, Joshua is said to have punched a fellow student in the nose, which led to a one-day suspension, and even threw chairs at other classmates.

The day of the pastry gun incident, officials say Joshua aimed his pastry pistol at students and made sounds like a gun shooting.

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