Student expelled for gun in truck parked off campus
Gary Tudesko is fighting back and challenging his expulsion from Willows High School in California. He was expelled after it was discovered that Gary had 2 unloaded shot guns in his truck parked on a public street off campus.
On October 26, 2009, Gary and his friend went duck hunting during the early morning hours before school. Arriving at the school just before classes started, Gary thought he would be alright parking his pickup off campus knowing that guns are not allowed on campus. He locked the doors with the unloaded guns and ammunition inside the car.
Scent-sniffing canines were used to sniff the exterior of vehicles parked off campus. When a dog alerted to Gary’s truck, Gary acknowledged to the administrators that the guns were in his truck which were turned over to the school officials. There is nothing in the student handbook about unloaded weapons in vehicles parked off campus. However, a California statute defines “school zone” as a distance within 1,000 feet from school grounds.
Gary was expelled from school and is not allowed in any schools in the district for the remainder of the school year. Gary has appealed the decision and the Glenn County Board of Education will hear the matter on appeal on January 15th, 2010.
Do you think the Board of Education should allow Gary to return to his high school? Is expulsion excessive punishment considering Gary believed he was acting responsibly by making sure to park off campus? Or was the school right by sticking to the strict “zero tolerance” policy and not making any exceptions for Gary?
Update: In January 2010, the Glenn County Board of Education reversed the school’s decision to expel Gary. In its decision, the Board stated that the school officials exceeded their authority in expelling him since he was parked off campus on a public street, the guns were not on school grounds or brought to a school sponsored event. The Board also ordered the expulsion be removed from his record.
In February, 2012, 9 year-old third-grader in Washington brought a gun to school. When he slammed his bookbag down on a desk, the gun went off and hit 8 year-old Amina Kocer-Bowman in her midsection and arm. Amina was hospitalized for weeks while recovering from her injuries. At a Kitsap County Juvenile Court hearing in March, 2012, the boy was placed on probation for one year and required to write a letter of apology to Amina. He commented “I’m sorry” when asked by the judge if he had anything to say.