High School Student Expelled for Unloaded Gun Forgotten In Trunk

Folks — Here you go. This is just sort of an hors d’oeuvre (world’s hardest word to spell) for the day: Your daily dose of Zero Tolerance insanity WITH a dash of hope at the end! According to WRAL in North Carolina:

PRINCETON, N.C. — The Princeton High School community is rallying around a student who was arrested and expelled for having an unloaded shotgun in his car in the school’s parking lot.

David Cole Winthrow, 16, was charged Monday with bringing a weapon on educational property, which is a felony. He was expelled from school and won’t be allowed to graduate with his class later this month.

Family friend Kim Boykin said Winthrow, an Eagle Scout and honors student, accidentally left his gun in the car after skeet shooting over the weekend. When he realized, he went inside to ask school officials if he could leave campus to take the gun home, but an administrator reported the weapon to police.

“To have him arrested and expelled from school is excessive,” she said. “He locks his vehicle, goes inside and tries to do the right thing.”

What’s great is that Cole’s fellow students have started painting “Free Cole!” on their cars and making bumper stickers, too. What’s also great is that Cole’s parents are not saying the school administrators were wrong (though I think they were. Especially because two years ago when a LOADED GUN was found in the assistant principal’s car, he was only suspended three days without pay.) But anyway: The parents are saying that the LAW is wrong to allow no distinctions between a madman with an Uzi and a recreational skeet shooter who doesn’t bring his gun into the school.

I predict we will soon see a rash of changes to these Zero Tolerance laws as they are becoming the laughingstock of the nation — and beyond. I was just on the radio with RTE in Ireland this morning where they lap up stories like this. We look like fools. Maybe because we are. – L.

Princeton High School: Zero Tolerance for nuance!

84 Responses to High School Student Expelled for Unloaded Gun Forgotten In Trunk

  1. Ann in L.A. May 2, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Seems like the stories around here are getting worse. They’re not of the “look at the stupid things lawsuit-wary adults are doing to deprive our kids” variety; they’re now of the “look what adults are doing to torture and completely wreck the live of our kids” variety.

    Much scarier.

  2. Arianne May 2, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    I remember that happened when I was in high school in 1999. I went to a rural-ish school, and a student who I’d known to be a avid hunter (and perfectly safe person) was expelled for having a gun in his car. Everyone knew it was ridiculous, but we were in Colorado, and it was a month or so after Columbine, so I knew he didn’t stand a chance at getting it reversed. He was just about to graduate, too. So sad.

  3. Rob May 2, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Remember when we used to say, “Don’t trust anybody over 30?” We always said it jokingly, but when adults can’t be trusted by kids to have a logical, rational response to a situation, it turns into the truth. The proper response would have been for the administrator to say “Thanks for asking, take it home and I’ll write a hall pass for you when you get back.”

    I didn’t notice in the article or the video if it said the gun was in the trunk, but if it was, he would have been better off just leaving it there because it probably wouldn’t have been found. However, he tried to do the right thing and he is being severely punished for it. Trust between the students and the administrators has been crippled, and the next time a student has a problem, they will not consult a school administrator.

    I hope you’re right that Zero Tolerance is on it’s way out. The only thing we should have zero tolerance for is Zero Tolerance!

  4. Ann May 2, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    I swear, nobody has a brain any more. This is a smart kid, doing the right thing, admitting he made a mistake, and asked to take it off campus. No punishment was needed at all for this. The admin should have said, “Thanks so much for letting us know… yes, take it home, and I’ll let your teacher know you’ll be a few minutes late to class.” Why call the cops? There was no threat to anyone!!

  5. lollipoplover May 2, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    What’s truly scary is that schools will expel an honor student over a stupid mistake but think it’s completely reasonable to fire other “fake” guns at teachers and scaring the shit out of them.

    http://news.msn.com/us/school-shooting-drill-terrifies-teachers

    THIS is what makes me embarrassed about this country.

  6. CrazyCatLady May 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Lessons to teach our kids who do hunting, sports, scouts, 4-H and other activities that may involve knives, guns or archery: If you accidentally forget and leave your equipment in your car or bag – DON”T TELL ANYONE! Especially not the school staff! Just wait until you get home to remove the item from your car/gear. And next time, put a sticky note on your steering wheel to remind you to double check where your gear is.

    So sad that this young man, who was trying to do the right thing, ended up with this. On the bright side, he has probably already been accepted at a college and this should not effect his further education if he can get community service.

  7. marie May 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    When he realized, he went inside to ask school officials if he could leave campus to take the gun home, but an administrator reported the weapon to police.

    Again…was there a police officer already in the school?

    The school spokesman said, “Certain items are mandated and we have no choice but to follow the law.”

    No choice? Really? That is such a pathetic excuse.

  8. L. C. Burgundy May 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Note also the swift punishment for honesty and trying to rectify something in an adult, mature way. The principal might as well tattoo his face with “PLEASE LIE TO ME” all over it.

  9. CrazyCatLady May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    lollipoplover, they were lucky they didn’t cause a heart attack in someone! And, if they had, would the police/rescue services come? After all, it was supposed to be a “drill”.

  10. Puzzled May 2, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    What we’re starting to see in schools is simple. The administrators and, to a great extent, teachers, graduated from schools with the current safety and rules mindset. That is, when they were in school, this mindset was starting to take hold, and was drilled into students, although not practiced by teachers. Now they’ve grown up, and are doing what they were taught to do.

    The good news is that bodes well for the future. Today’s children will grow up hating this stupidity for what it did to them, hopefully.

  11. Warren May 2, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    In high school it was considered normal to be leaving from school to go hunting, on the first Friday of the season. Or to be going to the range a week before to get ready. Our school hosted Cadets, that had a rifle team. We had the option which I took, of locking my rifle up with the Cadets rifles. Or leave them in the locked trunk, of our car.

    No one freaked seeing me carry my gun case into school. The ones that didn’t know either couldn’t care less, or asked where, when and what we were hunting.

    All this teaches people to do is lie when they make a mistake. And with they way things are going, it is only going to get worse.

  12. Yan Seiner May 2, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    As someone who shoots. “forgetting” a gun in your car is the error. No responsible gun owner would forget a gun in a vehicle.

    Make him take a gun safety course, commend him for being honest, and let him graduate.

  13. Erika Peterson May 2, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Okay, the part I don’t understand is who trained these kids to rat themselves out? Forgot about your gun? Lock the trunk and don’t open it. I’d be surprised if they were doing compulsory daily trunk searches. Jesus people, quit borrowing trouble.

  14. Meredith May 2, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    The sad thing is – he should have just lied to them and told them he had a stomach ache or something. It’s awful that a kid who made an honest mistake and was trying to correct it will be punished. “Free Cole!”

  15. John Nguyen May 2, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    The wikipedia page for Princeton High School features a list of principals over time – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princeton_High_School_%28North_Carolina%29 A line after the current principal says, “Needs to Free Cole.” Awesome! I’m e-mailing my protest to the school right now!

  16. DaveS May 2, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say leaving a firearm in your vehicle is irresponsible. Particularly when its being stored out of sight as the article leads me to believe.

    There are quite a few places around the country where keeping a firearm in your vehicle is fairly common practice.

  17. Selby May 2, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I know I’m mixing my issues du jour, but sill it’s interesting that a 16-year-old boy is deemed mature enough to have a gun license, but the same age girl apparently doesn’t have the maturity or wherewithal to have access to Plan B…..

    Back on topic, I’m totally with Erika: yes, he had good intentions, but in this day and age, just shut the trunk, shut up and it’s more likely you’ll leave school at the end of the day in your own car, not the paddy wagon.

  18. marie May 2, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Okay, the part I don’t understand is who trained these kids to rat themselves out? Forgot about your gun? Lock the trunk and don’t open it. I’d be surprised if they were doing compulsory daily trunk searches. Jesus people, quit borrowing trouble.

    I loved this, Erika!

  19. Warren May 2, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Thank you Dave.

    People have to remember, as Dave states, that this is the US, and a rifle in a trunk is a common practise.
    To those that use a rifle on a regular basis, forgetting it in the trunk is no different than me forgetting my hockey sticks in the trunk. Not that a rifle and sticks are weapon wise the same, but equipment wise they are. You know he drops his buddies off, goes to the store, does some other stuff, and when he gets home, is busy enough to just forget. We all do it, so no big deal.
    Hell some states the gun might have been in the rack of a pickup truck.

  20. Warren May 2, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    @ Erika
    If they wanted to search a the trunk of a student’s car, they best be law enforcement with a warrant. It is not the same as a school locker, that is school property.

  21. Sarah in WA May 2, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    When I worked in public schools (granted, they were elementary), I was surprised at the complete lack of consequences the students had to face for any actions.

    In a 4th grade class, I taught a girl who regularly assaulted other kids, never followed any directions (she would doodle on the white board behind me rather than sit in her seat for instructions), vandalized school property, and on and on. The principal actually told me to stop writing her up because it upset her mother.

    I moved her desk to the hallway because she was such a disruption. The principal immediately told me to move it back. She literally refused to do anything, saying she had her right to education. (Apparently, she also had the right to interfere with everyone else’s education and monopolize the teacher’s time.)

    I left that job with the distinct feeling that there were no consequences in the public school system anymore.

    So, why do we have two stories in a row here about student expulsions? When I was in my teaching program, we were actually told that expulsions were becoming a thing of the past.

    Which is it then? No expulsions, or zero tolerance policies that result in immediate expulsions? Kids who actually negatively impact other students around them are okay to stay, but those who make one mistake (that hurts no one) are not? I just don’t get it.

  22. Jenn May 2, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    I had a friend in High school who realized he had left his pocket knife in his bag after camping during the weekend. He decided to do the honest and right thing and take it to the office so his parents could picking it up later. Instead, they just suspended him. What did we learn? Don’t do the right thing.

  23. Brenna May 2, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Another news site had a quote from local law enforcement there that basically said an administrator who brought a weapon to school would be charged with a misdemeanor, while a student who did the same would be charged with a felony. My head nearly exploded with the cognitive dissonance.

  24. librarian May 2, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    It’s sad, but I’m starting to teach my kid the behavior rules I used when growing up in the Soviet Union in 1980s: “never volunteer any information about yourself or other students, unless you clear it with me or other adults that actually care. If you’re asked directly about something potentially problematic – try to act stupid and still give no information”.

  25. pentamom May 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    “Which is it then? No expulsions, or zero tolerance policies that result in immediate expulsions? Kids who actually negatively impact other students around them are okay to stay, but those who make one mistake (that hurts no one) are not? I just don’t get it.”

    No expulsions that would be a result of holding kids accountable for their actual, day to day behavior, and promoting the educational mission of the school.

    Expulsions for violating certain sacred cow rules that supersede the actual good of any member of the school community or the community as a whole.

    IOW, sacred rules over the actual purported goals of education.

    It’s nuts.

  26. pentamom May 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    “Okay, the part I don’t understand is who trained these kids to rat themselves out?”

    Probably their parents said silly things to them like, “If you realize you’ve made a serious mistake that could bring trouble, come talk to me about it and we’ll work it out. Don’t try to hide things, it just makes it worse.” Crazy stuff like that.

    There’s actually nothing wrong, in a healthy situation, with a kid admitting to a mistake and seeking a solution that will prevent further problems. The problem is that the school environment has become deeply unhealthy in certain respects.

  27. Mell May 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    This just teaches kids that they (correctly) cannot trust administrators to use any common sense. It widens the gap between adults and teens, and then these same adults sit around and lament that they can’t “communicate” with kids, or no one will talk to them. There is no common sense left. This country is rapidly turning into a completely ridiculous laughing stock. It is becoming truly embarrassing. The inmates are quite clearly running the asylum.

  28. carriem May 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    When I was in high school, our Zero Tolerance policy resulted in the suspension of some students who were in rehearsals for ‘Oklahoma’. The kids took their prop guns to the cafeteria and were horsing around after rehearsing. Because guns don’t kill people, musical theater kills people (Look at West Side Story!).

  29. DaveS May 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    While the school’s reaction does seem to promote a keep your mouth shut attitude, it did occur to me that being honest and upfront is carrying a lot of weight with his community.

    That could bode well for him if this charge is brought before a grand jury or if it even goes to trial.

    Had he not been honest and upfront, and the shotgun been discovered later (as unlikely as its discovery was), I don’t know if the community would be as supportive.

  30. Dirge May 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Hopefully all kids soon learn the lesson that if they make a mistake like this, just skip school and go home. The punishment will be far less sever for truancy then for making a mistake and admitting it.

  31. Donna May 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    @DaveS – Intentionally STORING a gun in your car is not irresponsible. Accidentally FORGETTING a gun in the car is. Big difference. Accidentally leaving a gun anywhere is irresponsible. If you are going to participate in sport involving a deadly weapon it is your responsibility to insure that your weapon is always properly stowed after use.

    That said, the case is ridiculous. Just let the boy go home and put the gun away. Sheesh.

    It is funny. Our office had a few of these cases back home. Kid acvidentally brings a carpet cutter (box cutter or something similar) to school in a pocket or backpack, tries to “hide it” when discovered and is ratted out by another kid. The school officials always say “you should have turned the item into the office as soon as you discovered it.” Why? Kinda sounds like your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  32. Asya May 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Goodness gracious. Why did the young man not have the sense to just keep it concealed in the car. Or do the school police look into students’ vehicle nowadays as a normal thing? Is it really that hard to stuff it under a seat?

    Or at least leave the school, take it home. If there are psychotic attendance policies, fake a headache, ANYTHING for goodness sake’s! As for the administrator, have an ounce of common sense and excuse the student for a few periods while he sneaks to take it home without much ado. If he is a deranged, failing, suspicious kind, use a tougher approach to the situation, but do not expel the person!!!

    Is there really this little trust and community among these people that spend six hours in one building?

  33. lollipoplover May 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    “Is there really this little trust and community among these people that spend six hours in one building?”

    Apparently at this school there is. Free Cole!

    If we punish the good kids to send a message the only one we’re sending is “Don’t snitch” or admit to a mistake. Hide everything from the school administration. Administrators who organize surprise active shooter drills on their own staff because this is “valuable”. Uh huh.

  34. Chihiro May 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    All this is doing is teaching kids to lie about their mistakes in order to get out of trouble.

  35. Jim Collins May 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Warren,
    In many schools a condition of allowing a student to drive to school is a signed consent form allowing a search of the vehicle at any time. In that case a warrant wouldn’t be necessary. When I went back to college a few years ago one of the forms that I had to fill out to get a parking pass was a consent form. For some reason I never turned that one in and they didn’t notice.

  36. Emily May 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    @Carrie M.–That’s terrible. Did the play go on as planned, or did the school administrators have to cancel/postpone “Oklahoma” and explain why? If it was the latter, I really can’t see any way that the powers-that-be could have phrased their “explanation” that wouldn’t make them look like total whack jobs, so I hope everything got sorted out, and life at your school (including the play) moved on as usual.

  37. Warren May 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    @Jim

    Might be that way down in the states, but not here. For one thing you do not need permission to drive to high school here. Same with college here.

    The only thing you do in college is pay for a parking sticker. Minimal charge, just so that the office workers around do not try to get free parking, on school grounds.

    I guess it is a fundemental difference in countries. Our schools do not treat high school students as children. As a matter of fact, there are no locker searches either, no school police, no security guards, no metal detectors, just staff, faculty and students.

    And honestly Jim, I do not think a school can make you give up the right against searches, as a condition of parking. That is a legal issue that could be addressed. If you refused to allow the search, and they threatened to take away your parking privelages, that could be a sticky issue.

  38. Crystal May 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I grew up in a rural area where most of the kids hunt, fish and the like. I remember when I was a freshman and my brother was a senior the principal asked my brother for a gun recommendation. My bro took the guy out to his truck during lunchtime and showed off his own gun. The principal thanked him and went back to work. End of story. And I’m only in my 20s, so it wasn’t that long ago!

  39. Heath May 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    @Rob, “Trust between the students and the administrators has been crippled, and the next time a student has a problem, they will not consult a school administrator.” You’re exactly right! This poor kid probably thought, “I’m gonna do the right thing, and they’ll probably think I’m a responsible young man for doing so.” Whoops! All this is making me think I should teach my kid to keep his mouth shut, and trust no one in authority.

    Also, @Warren, anything on school property is considered game for searches, even locked vehicles. I had a friend get suspended for having a lighter in his car, because administrators were walking around the parking lot, looking in windows. And that was 1991!

  40. Heath May 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    @Warren, I just saw that you live in Canada, so that would explain the difference. But yeah, in the U.S., students have essentially no rights, while at school.

  41. Steve S May 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    My state (Michigan) has the same asinine policy that mandates expulsion for bringing a weapon onto school property. IIRC, it would have done the same thing as happened here. It is a stupid law and schools face sanctions if they don’t comply.

    What I do not understand is charging him with a felony. The prosecutor has discretion and is under no obligation to charge him with anything, much less a felony. If he is convicted, he will be stuck with that label and all that goes with that (including not even being able to own a gun again).

    Unfortunately, this kid should have just lied.

  42. Steve S May 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    FWIW, students do have some rights when it comes to searches in the US. Most of the time, it isn’t an issue because students are just intimidated into giving consent and don’t realize they can refuse.

  43. Heath May 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    One of the main cases that is used to justify searches is Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton. This specific case was about the right to drug-test athletes. But in the majority opinion, Justice Scalia argued that schools only need a “reasonable” suspicion to search a student, and not “probable cause”, as the 4th Amendment states. So under that interpretation, all the school has to say is they know X kid hunts a lot, so they have a reasonable suspicion that he may have a gun in his car. There have been more cases, since this one, that have used Scalia’s words as precedent. So with such a nebulous definition, it would be hard to sue the school. However, please note that I’m not a lawyer, so I may not have a completely accurate understanding. But I was a high school teacher, so I have a rough idea how schools view the subject. And I was always in the severe minority in thinking it wasn’t right.

  44. Steve S May 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Respectfully, I disagree. Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS) would probably require more than knowing a person hunts a lot, IME. Granted, it is less than probable cause, but it still requires facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the person in question has some kind of contraband. A judge could probably rule either way, but I think I could make a good argument to have the evidence suppressed.

  45. Donna May 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    “And honestly Jim, I do not think a school can make you give up the right against searches, as a condition of parking.”

    Everyone is always free to waive his/her constitutional rights. It is also 100% perfectly legal to condition the granting of a privilege on a waiver of constitutional rights in many situations.

    Like it or not, parking on school grounds is a privilege. A school is not constitutionally required to build a parking lot at all, nor is it required to allow everyone to park there if they do build one. Many schools have various requirements for parking. For example, at the university in my hometown, there is not nearly enough parking for all 40,000 students to have a space so freshmen (who are required to live in a dorm) can’t get parking permits except in very limited circumstances.

    Therefore, it is likely perfectly legal to condition a right to park on campus with a waiver of constitutional rights as they pertain to the vehicle parked. You are not required to waive anything. You can choose to park somewhere else or not drive to school at all.

    Whether or not schools should do so is a completely different discussion.

  46. Donna May 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    I can’t imagine that knowing someone hunts is reasonable suspicion that a gun would be found in a car at school. You have to have reason to believe – and be able to articulate those reasons and not just have a gut feeling – that contraband is in that particular place at that particular time, not just that the person owns a gun. Since most hunters don’t keep their guns in the car everywhere they go all the time, it would seem like a huge stretch. Not saying that the court would agree with me but it would definitely be worth an argument and even an appeal if I lost.

  47. anonymous this time May 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    The school spokesman said, “Certain items are mandated and we have no choice but to follow the law.”

    Eerily familiar.

    “I’m just following orders.”

    “It’s the policy. i have to do what I’m told.”

    Adolph Eichmann, the famous Nazi officer in charge of the concentration camps in Eastern Europe, confessed that the he and his henchman in the Holocaust had a word for their responsibility-denying language—amtssprache. Roughly translated, this word means “office talk” or “bureaucratese.” When asked why they did what they did, their typical response might be something like, “I had to,” “I was following orders,” or “It was the law.”

    Amtssprache is not unique to the Nazis. Just look at these folks who run the US education system!

  48. Papilio May 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    “We look like fools. Maybe because we are.”
    On the bright side (very subtle, I know 😛 ): self-knowledge is an important step on the way to change. So keep spreading the word…

    Sorry, I can’t resist: “hors d’oeuvre (world’s hardest word to spell)”
    So let me get this straight… You write in a language with an outdated spelling that has become so irregular that there are poems written about it, jokes about ‘ghoti’ spelling fish, people are confusing there/their/they’re, sight/site and your/you’re half the time and the connection between vowel and spelling is SO obscure that your first name is being misspelled in 6 different ways (AND I see at least 1 mistake in “uber safety”) – yet you comedian complain about one lousy French word??? Which isn’t even tête-à-tête or Genève? :-O My tongue is desiccating.

  49. Steve S May 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I am not aware of any schools requiring searches as a condition of parking. I have never had to sign one.

    Personally, I would never consent to a search unless it was absolutely necessary.

  50. Donna May 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Another article gives different facts from this one. The gun was not in the trunk. It was in the bed of a pickup truck and he moved it into the cab when he got to school and realized it was there. Second, he didn’t ask the school to allow him to take it home. He called his mother and asked her to come get the gun and a school official overheard the conversation.

    Doesn’t really change much other than increase my opinion that Cole is not the most responsible gun owner I’ve ever met and that I would expect better from an Eagle Scout.

    Cole has received a scholarship to Liberty College because of this.

  51. Donna May 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    @Steve S – Then I guess that you didn’t survey Jim Collins’ school since he said that he had to sign a waiver to get a parking permit.

  52. JaneW May 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    In Glen Ridge, New Jersey, on a vaguely related note:

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/205864051_Glenfield_Middle_School_principal_resigns.html

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/205861721_More_details_emerge_in_Glenfield_Airsoft_gun_case.html

    Recently, a student brought an Airsoft pellet gun to school. The school confiscated it, of course, and started disciplinary procedures against the student. But, horror of horrors, the school did not contact police for almost two days! For not immediately calling police over an already-confiscated toy, the principal has been forced to resign.

    Why are schools practicing such insane zero-tolerance? Because, apparently, otherwise they get fired.

  53. JaneW May 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Sorry, that’s Glenfield school in Montclair, not Glen Ridge.

  54. Sally May 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    @Jim – “In many schools a condition of allowing a student to drive to school is a signed consent form allowing a search of the vehicle at any time. In that case a warrant wouldn’t be necessary.”

    Don’t believe this is true.

    “When I went back to college a few years ago one of the forms that I had to fill out to get a parking pass was a consent form. For some reason I never turned that one in and they didn’t notice.”

    I suspect the term “waiver” has been misunderstood or perhaps you misremember. That term would come up a lot in such a document, but not in regard to waiving 4th amendment rights. If you have a link that’ll say otherwise Jim, I’d be happy to see it.

    @ – Donna “Everyone is always free to waive his/her constitutional rights. It is also 100% perfectly legal to condition the granting of a privilege on a waiver of constitutional rights in many situations.”

    You make it sound like 4th amendment rights are something people run around waiving away for nothing more than a song and a promise of a kiss. Or a parking permit. Although a ‘Fourth Waiver’ is something that does exist (for parolees to lighten their sentences, for instance), it’s not without a lot of controversy. Thank goodness.

    “Therefore, it is likely perfectly legal to condition a right to park on campus with a waiver of constitutional rights as they pertain to the vehicle parked. You are not required to waive anything. You can choose to park somewhere else or not drive to school at all. ”

    Again, I don’t believe this is true if what you mean is that school officials don’t even need a reasonable suspicion to do a search. That is the legal basis they need. And they don’t need you to sign a waiver to do so. Schools officials are given more leeway in this than officials on the ‘outside’. No waiver required.

  55. Donald May 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    School principals are not umpires. They can’t ‘call them as they see them’. Their power has been taken away by a bureaucracy of hysteria and theater security. The principal could be fired if he or she doesn’t call the cops if a firearm is involved in ANY circumstance and even an Airsoft pellet gun! (I wonder if Hello Kitty bubble guns are also included?)

    This is an excellent example of zero tolerance = zero brains.

    Remember the old days when America use to be civil?

  56. Papilio May 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    My brother flunked his exams twice and so he had to leave school. He went to South America for a few months to discover what he wanted to study after taking a State Exam to get that diploma after all, and in the meantime my parents got letters from the local government inviting him over for a good conversation about his plans for the future, now that he didn’t have a diploma and thus didn’t stand a chance to find a decent job.
    I suppose it’s a bit different when students are kicked out for one reason or… none, but still. Is there any policy in the USA to make sure kids get their high school diploma?
    What is this boy supposed to do now that he’s not allowed to graduate at his own school? Can he take his exams elsewhere?
    What is your society doing to keep him from becoming what they’re already treating him like: a criminal?

  57. Donald May 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    This story is preposterous. However, in any situation I always try to see if something good can come out of it.

    It’s such a good bad example! I love the way that this idiocy is making international news.

  58. Donna May 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    “You make it sound like 4th amendment rights are something people run around waiving away for nothing more than a song and a promise of a kiss.”

    If only that were not true, I would have far fewer clients. But, alas, my clients constantly waive their 4th amendment rights for nothing more than a “hey bud can I search your car?” – at which point the cop finds the kilo of cocaine in the trunk.

    But you are correct that a 4th amendment waiver – even as part of a criminal plea agreement – doesn’t give a completely unlimited right to search. You still have to have some reason to believe that contraband is present. Nor did I imply that a 4th amendment waiver on at a high school would actually give the school more power than it already has. I simply responded to Warren’s comment that they were not legal. They are.

    And, nor sure where you are from but 4th Amendment waivers as part of plea agreements are not even slightly controversial where I live.

  59. Donna May 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    And since I’ve never had a judge throw out a search under a 4th amendment waiver for not being reasonable – and I’ve had some that there was no basis whatsoever to believe that drugs were present other than the person had a prior drug conviction – I don’t think “reasonable suspicion” really provides much of a buffer if you sign a waiver.

  60. Adam May 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Some related news. Good or bad? YMMV
    http://news.yahoo.com/n-c-high-school-student-arrested-accidentally-leaving-201830213.html
    “Liberty University announced Thursday that it will extend a scholarship to Withrow after he was suspended and arrested for accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pick-up truck parked in the school lot.”
    “Liberty University allows qualified students, faculty and staff to carry concealed firearms on campus and in all buildings, excluding residence halls. “

  61. BL May 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    @Adam
    “Some related news. Good or bad”

    Good.

  62. Jenny Islander May 3, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    Bad. Liberty University has ties to the black-helicopter crowd. This kid does not need friends like these.

    A gun is just a tool, not a magical vial of curdled death. It can be dangerous if messed around with, but so can an ax or chainsaw. The appropriate punishment for this infraction of the rules would have been an afternoon of detention in order to write an essay proving the student had knowledge of basic gun safety. Also, if he’s taking classes, his range instructor needs to know. If his “range instructor” is one of his parents, they need to know.

  63. BL May 3, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    @Donna
    “And, nor sure where you are from but 4th Amendment waivers as part of plea agreements are not even slightly controversial where I live.”

    Just curious – is anyone ever asked to waive the 13th amendment in a plea agreement and do they?

  64. Sally May 3, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    @Donna “Nor did I imply that a 4th amendment waiver on at a high school would actually give the school more power than it already has.”

    I beg to differ. You didn’t say that it gave them more power, but you implied that. Or at the very least you implied that the schools themselves believe it gives them more power. Why else are you asserting that schools have students sign such a waiver to park on their premises?

    “Like it or not, parking on school grounds is a privilege. A school is not constitutionally required to build a parking lot at all, nor is it required to allow everyone to park there if they do build one. . .

    Therefore, it is likely perfectly legal to condition a right to park on campus with a waiver of constitutional rights as they pertain to the vehicle parked. You are not required to waive anything. You can choose to park somewhere else or not drive to school at all.”

    The situation you described in your last response — waiving 4th Amendment rights via an affirmative oral response to the question asked by a law enforcement agent (and btw, there is anyway a motor vehicle exception for search warrants normally required by the 4th Amendment), “But, alas, my clients constantly waive their 4th amendment rights for nothing more than a “hey bud can I search your car?” – at which point the cop finds the kilo of cocaine in the trunk.” — is very different to one you describe above, which involved signing a written contract that insists you waive your 4th Amendment rights to gain some kind of privilege. It was this situation that I was responding to.

    And this statement “Everyone is always free to waive his/her constitutional rights. It is also 100% perfectly legal to condition the granting of a privilege on a waiver of constitutional rights in many situations” brings with it the suggestion that there is nothing strange or controversial about such “agreements”. It’s all perfectly normal. (I’m skeptical that such private, commercial contracts exist in the manner you seem to be describing. I know they are found in law enforcement, for example, parolees). In any event, framing it as you do simply doesn’t reflect the complexity of these situations and courts do indeed grapple with the concept. (See link in my next post.)

    You wrote: “I don’t think “reasonable suspicion” really provides much of a buffer if you sign a waiver.” And I don’t think “reasonable suspicion” provide much of a buffer in and of itself. Pretty arbitrary anyway, “reasonable suspicion”. Hard to disprove, I imagine. But “reasonable suspicion” is all school officials need to do a search of personal property.

  65. Silver Fang May 3, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    He should’ve just left the gun in the trunk and kept his moth shut.

  66. Sally May 3, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    http://www.metnews.com/articles/craw030603.htm

    Look at the dissenting judge’s argument in this “Court Limits ‘Fourth Waiver’ Home Searches of Parolees” decision. It comes full circle folks.

    We start with a discussion in this particular thread about 4th Amendment rights and what do I stumble across? A judge, who instead of talking about the case at hand in his dissension against the majority who want to give greater protection to 4th Amendment rights, evokes the name of . . . Polly Kaas!! (Be afraid you fools. And give up your silly rights. Cause Polly Kaas.)

    Neatly proves what Lenore has pointed out: There’s a connect between the (cultivated!) panic about childrens’ safety and the erosion of our rights.

    Here’s the bit if you don’t feel like reading through whole thing:

    “The opinion was met with a harshly worded dissent in which Judge Stephen Trott called for permitting searches of parolee homes so long as they are not “arbitrary, capricious, or harassing.”

    In calling for Crawford’s statement to be admissible and his conviction to be upheld, Trott invoked the name not of the defendant but of Richard Allen Davis, the paroled kidnapper who sexually assaulted and killed 12-year-old Polly Klass in 1993. The Klass killing prompted California voters to adopt the Three Strikes Law, an anti-recidivism statute that has become a model for other states and for the federal government.

  67. Warren May 3, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    “LAND OF THE FREE”?

    Does not look that way from up here. You don’t have schools, you have institutions that border on being prisons.

    RANDOM SEARCHES
    SECURITY GUARDS
    CAMPUS POLICE
    RESTRICTED MOVEMENT
    WAIVING OF RIGHTS
    FELONY ARRESTS FOR OTHERWISE LAWFUL ACTS
    HAIR COLOUR RESTRICTIONS
    WARDROBE RESTRICTIONS
    PLAY RESTRICTIONS

    May as well save money and merge the boards of education with the dept. of corrections.

  68. Papilio May 3, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    @Sally: Klaas. Her name was Klaas. It is, or might have been, a Dutch short for Nicolaas, Nicholas in English.
    So the name of Santa Claus is only coincidence! I now understand Sinterklaas could just as well have become Santa Klass or Santa Kaas… 😀

  69. EricS May 3, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Fools are fools Lenore, anywhere you go in the world. There just seems to a lot more in America, compared to the world…combined. It will only get worse the more people don’t use common sense, but retain a “holier than thou” attitude.

  70. JP May 3, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    The dude made the mistake of trusting in good common sense in his elders (you know – all the stuff he’s been raised to believe in.)
    He’s an Eagle Scout and an honors student: not a goth, anti-social sociopath.
    He believes he’s doing the right thing.
    He’s raised within a society that worships the firearm…as natural an appendage as a forefinger.
    Loving and loathing, all at the same time.
    Does the punishment fit the “crime?”

    The long slow slide continues.
    Who are the real psychopaths here?

  71. SKL May 3, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    All this is doing is teaching people to NOT do the right thing once they realize they have accidentally broken a rule.

  72. Sally May 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    @Papilio, right, I left out the “L”. But now I see the article I linked to replaced the second “A” with another “S”. So misspellings all round!

  73. Papilio May 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    @Sally: Yes, I saw that too (and I get that, it is a very weird spelling for English), so I decided to give some background info on it – usually that helps me remember stuff so maybe it works for other people too :-)

    @Warren: Do you think they already have a school-Stasi?

  74. TM May 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    For some icing on the cake, consider this: He could have gotten in his truck, done a donut in the parking lot, blared his horn, flipped off the principal, left school without permission drove home and left the gun there and then turned himself into the police for truancy and he would have been in less trouble.

  75. pentamom May 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    BL — the 13th amendment does not guarantee the right not to be enslaved, it abolishes slavery. Slavery is thereby deemed absolutely unlawful in the U.S.

    This is not like being searched — any person, at any time, can say, “Go ahead and search me,” because searching someone is not a crime, it is just something that people are protected against being subject to against their will without sufficient cause. Slavery, OTOH, is completely unlawful.

    IOW, you can’t waive your right not to be enslaved, because there is no enumerated “right not to be enslaved,” just as there is no “right not to be murdered.” In both cases, the things are not a matter of rights that could be freely given up (as my right to free speech is if I decide to keep quiet for whatever reason), but something that is absolutely forbidden for one person to subject any other person to, at any time.

  76. Donna May 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    “Why else are you asserting that schools have students sign such a waiver to park on their premises? ”

    Where exactly did I assert this? I’ve never even heard of such a waiver. JIM COLLINS asserted that his school made him sign a 4th amendment waiver to park on campus. Warren questioned the legality and I expressed my opinion that it would be legal. Nothing more.

    As for why Jim Collins’ school had him sign a waiver, ask it what it thought it accomplished, not me.

    “(I’m skeptical that such private, commercial contracts exist in the manner you seem to be describing.”

    Let’s see if maybe you can get this I DIDN’T SAY THEY EXISTED AT ALL. I simply said that I think that they are not unconstitutional when someone else said that they exist. Nothing more.

    “In any event, framing it as you do simply doesn’t reflect the complexity of these situations and courts do indeed grapple with the concept. (See link in my next post.) ”

    And if I were getting into a lengthy legal discussion with fellow lawyers, I’d get into all the complexities of the situation. I don’t view this blog as the place for that nor would most here be interested in lengthy, often convoluted legal discourse that is going to somewhat vary by state and definitely by country.

    Ultimately, I do believe for the most part that such waivers would ultimately be found to be legal. My opinion based on my own legal research and experience. Yours can differ. You haven’t given any reasons as to why your opinion differs. You’ve simply said that such agreements don’t exist and that I am wrong to think that they do (when I never said that they did to start with).

  77. Ian B May 3, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    Time to contact the *elected* school board and request that this administrator be expelled, and if they refuse to do so, recall the school board.

  78. Puzzled May 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    BL and Pentamom – If a plea agreement involves prison time in a state where they still have work gangs, how is that not waiving the 13th amendment?

    If one consents to be murdered, then one has not been murdered, one has been killed. If one consents to be enslaved, then one is not enslaved, but rather a volunteer – if the enslavement requires consent, then presumably he can leave at any time, else he is simply enslaved, not voluntarily enslaved.

  79. MommyMitzi May 6, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    So, we as a nation arrest, charge with a felony and expel a minor who has an unloaded gun locked in the trunk of his car on school property but we don’t do anything when a 5 yr old shoots and kills his 2 yr sister with a loaded gun left unsupervised in the corner of a room. Lord help us all.

  80. pentamom May 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    “If one consents to be murdered, then one has not been murdered, one has been killed. ”

    It is murder for one person to kill another deliberately apart from execution after due process, so “consenting” to being killed in such a way that it alters the legal status of the killing is impossible.

    “If one consents to be enslaved, then one is not enslaved, but rather a volunteer – if the enslavement requires consent, then presumably he can leave at any time, else he is simply enslaved, not voluntarily enslaved.”

    No, it is possible to consent to being enslaved — it was common practice in earlier ages (though not the model that happened in the U.S.) You signed away your freedom permanently in payment for debt — once you became enslaved, you were no longer free to stop being a “volunteer,” but you were enslaved. But the initial enslavement happened with consent. That was at least as common in the ancient world as the kidnapping or breeding models of slavery.

    But it is not lawful to consent to being enslaved under the 13th amendment, since enslavement is always a crime in the U.S. Similarly, private killing is always a crime. You can’t create a right for another person to commit a crime simply by claiming you’re wiling to be a victim of one.

    Being consigned to a work gang is not slavery because you are not disposable chattel, your situation is a result of adjudication after due process of law and not an economic transaction, and it has a defined and irrevocable time limit.

  81. Walter Underwood May 7, 2013 at 1:00 am #

    A similar thing happened at Gunn HS in Palo Alto with an airsoft gun. He was spotted while putting it in the trunk and the whole school was on lockdown. He explained, but a simulated weapon was considered the same as a real one.

  82. Sarah May 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    VERY off topic, but I’d just like to say that hors d’oeuvre has nothing on hemorrhage! I have trouble every time with that one! 😉

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