A Kansas elementary school student was suspended from school for possessing an empty, spent rifle shell casing. His suspension may continue to run for a total of 186 days.
The student, Camron Carlson, picked the casing up off the ground and placed it in his pocket when he accompanied his mother who was sighting in a rifle the day before, according to The Chanute Tribune.
“Our family does a lot of deer hunting,” Camron’s grandmother, Mary Sue Carlson, told the Tribune. “This is hunting country.”
Camron said that the following day it fell out of his pocket as he was leaving the restroom at school. Another student took notice and reported the incident to a teacher. Camron was eventually called into the principal’s office, which in turn called the boy’s mother, Deana Carlson.
The Tribune reported:
Carlson was called into the school office where she saw her son had been crying.
Carlson said she was not happy with her son for having the shell casing, which everyone agrees he should not have had at school. She said she was told by Principal Gary Wheeler that the incident could lead to a 186-day suspension, but they could possibly reduce it to five days if he spoke to Superintendent James Hardy.
“I looked at him and I said ‘this is the wrong call,’” she said. “I could understand if there was a student who had multiple offenses … there was nothing dangerous about what he had done. My son is being discouraged and looked down upon for being a boy.”
As for the “infraction” itself, the Tribune reported:
According to the Chanute Elementary School student handbook, the disciplinary measures for minor infractions is detention, conference about correct behavior, and parent notification.
The weapons policy requires a 186-day expulsion for possession of any firearm or ammunition for any firearm. Neosho County Attorney Linus Thuston said he does not consider spent shell casings to be ammunition, legally.
None of the alleged statements from Gary Wheeler on the consequences for Camron Carlson match either set of rules.
“It doesn’t seem like he followed the procedure,” Carlson said. “The principal made him feel that an empty shell was dangerous. In some people’s eyes maybe it is.”
Assistant Superintendent Diane Watkins commented to the paper via email.
“Student and staff safety is of the utmost importance in our district,” the email read. “The consequences for violating policy are found in our Board Policy Manual. USD 413 follows these policies to ensure that every effort is made to provide a safe place to learn and work. It would not be appropriate to comment on an individual student.”
Safety concerns over an empty shell casing? Really? For whatever it’s worth, according to a reader’s comment to the original story, the principal is a registered Democrat.
(h/t: Guns Save Lives)