I do not believe it matters that you are turning down a 10 year olds first python program or a 42 year old's lil' perl script. Age has nothing to do with it - the point is that they are fledgling programmers, and as such should learn early on how software is evaluated in our community: performance, stability, feature set, and ease of use. It sounds that this is criteria the editors are using, and I think they need to keep it that way.
It sounds like there are two different issues here: rejected software that is trivial by nature (the editor's bash script example), and rejected software that replicates but does not improve an existing software component.
Consider the replicated software case: granted, the beginner programmer learned alot doing the submitted development (and this is not a bad thing). But they may have learned MORE by going to the pre-existing source, learning how it worked, (and if they are beginner programmers) probably getting a very good picture of GOOD, TIGHT, PEER-REVIEWED code. There are two aspects of learning how to code in any language: learning how to write a new component from the ground up, and learning how to integrate a new feature into a pre-existing code base. My opinion is that we have too much of the former, and not enough of the latter (just look at how many editors and cd rippers are our there!).
Now consider the trivial software part: everyone has to write this stuff. I did it (hell, I still do sometimes :^)), you did it, we all did it. You can't write non-trivial stuff without this rite of passage. But I'm not sure that falsely propping up (by accepting trivial submissions) the beginning programmer's confidence is a good solution, and I definetly do not think that it is good for the community. The submission of trivial software is a BIG indication of the programmer's level of experience, expertise, and general knowledge of the opensource community; if someone's feelings are hurt because their submission is rejected, that is even more tell-tale (IMHO). It sounds like the submitters are the same ones that install a packaged Linux distribution, learn how to configure the network interface, start apache, write a home page, and then declare them selves gurus and hackers. Are they submitting to freshmeat to improve the community or so all their friends can see that they are real programmers now.