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CA: Expulsion for guns in truck overturned

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by twoclones, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Expulsion for guns in truck overturned by education board
    Published Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010


    In the end, the case of a Willows teenager expelled for having hunting guns in his pickup truck parked next to campus didn't focus on gun rights.

    It became a question of whether the authority of school officials to enforce the state's Education Code extended to the school fence – or a sidewalk's width beyond it.

    On Friday, members of the Glenn County Board of Education drew the line at the gates of Willows High School.

    They ruled that officials in the Willows Unified School District had exceeded their authority when they expelled Gary Tudesko – a 17-year-old with a history of disciplinary problems – for leaving two shotguns and ammunition in his truck parked a few feet from the school's tennis courts on a public street.

    "The district governing board acted in excess of its jurisdiction to expel the Pupil," the board wrote in its decision.

    The elected board members said they would not comment on their decision because disciplinary proceedings are normally confidential.The board's hearing Tuesday, at which members heard legal arguments, was open to the public at Tudesko's parents' request.

    On the morning of Oct. 26, Tudeskoand a friend went waterfowl hunting. Tudesko brought the guns to school so he wouldn't be late. He said he knew he couldn't bring them on campus but thought it was OK to park on a public street.

    Later that morning, a gunsniffing dog discovered the weapons as private security guards searched the campus perimeter. The guns were in the back seat of the truck, which was separated from campus only by an oleander hedge and the sidewalk.

    In overturning the teen's expulsion, county Board of Education members cited a state statute that requires a principal to recommend expulsion if a student possesses firearms "at school."

    The board found Tudesko had not possessed the shotguns "on school grounds."

    They also said Tudesko did not receive a fair expulsion hearing in November because he wasn't given adequate notice that two dozen prior disciplinary incidents would be presented as evidence against him, and he didn't have a chance to respond.

    According to a brief filed by the school district's lawyer, those charges included calling a teacher's assistant a "stupid Mexican," disrupting a showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by repeatedly saying the "N" word, which Tudesko denied, and writing on a final exam that his math teacher was a "b – – ."

    After board President Judy Holzapfel read the unanimous decision aloud Friday, supporters cheered and applauded.

    Tudesko, his mother, Susan Parisio, and their lawyers smiled and hugged.

    At a news conference afterward, Parisio said, "Gary didn't do anything wrong" when he left the guns in his truck. The prior incidents were "blown out of proportion," she said.

    Tudesko said he felt his prior disciplinary troubles had been raised to justify his expulsion.

    "I think that's really the only thing they had on me. They couldn't get me for the guns," he said.

    "I won," he added.

    The high school junior, who has been home schooled since he was expelled, said he is excited to return to school as soon as possible. He vowed to improve his failing grades in math, English and history and avoid further trouble.

    "I need to grow up and take advantage of school," he said.

    Willows school officials exited the county education offices demoralized.

    Principal Mort Geivett said he believes he did the right thing by recommending expulsion. Having guns so close to campus in the wake of school shootings around the country raised grave safety concerns, he said.

    "I'm disappointed," he said. "I don't think it's a good call for kids in this community."

    Steve Olmos, superintendent of the Willows Unified School District, said he believes the board's decision was based on politics in the conservative, rural county.

    He said he will meet with the board of the Willows school district to discuss legal options.Thecash-strapped district cannot easily afford to take the case to court, he said, and might seek help from teachers unions.

    It is vital, he said, to determine whether school officials can enforce student conduct in the area immediately surrounding campuses.

    Chuck Michel, a prominent gun-rights lawyer who handled Tudesko's case, agreed that the phrase "at school" in the Education Code needs to be better defined.

    Sections of the code dealing with expulsion, firearms and other disciplinary matters are a confusing tangle of passages tacked on over the years, and the courts have offered little guidance, he said.

    He urged lawmakers to draft legislation to clean up the Education Code and to make it clear where and under what circumstances it applies.

    "I hope this case provides the basis to go to Sacramento and get the law clarified," Michel said, "so you don't have any more Gary Tudeskos."

    © Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
     
  2. timbernet

    timbernet Boring, Oregon Member

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    I am glad that the case was overturned as I agree that the school overstepped it's authority....


    ..... but it sounds like that kid needs a good attitude adjustment!
     
  3. roguebowhunter

    roguebowhunter medford Member

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    +2 on the attitude ADJ.. Don
     
  4. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    +3
     
  5. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I find it ironic that they didn't expel him for his previous insubordinate acts, but expel him when he tries to follow the law by not parking on campus when he had the shotguns in his truck. What's wrong with that picture.
     
  6. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    I remember leaving shotguns in the back seat of my car in HS, parked in the Hil-Hi parking lot. Never thought twice about it and no issue ever arose from doing so.

    I graduated in 1980. Took hunters safety as a gym elective my sophomore year, my PE teacher taught us to shoot .22s under the auditorium in the schools shooting range. Eight students at a time armed with single shot .22s.
    The school must of had an armory for there 12 rifles.

    Times change I guess.
     
  7. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    In Jr. High, I took my .22 rifle to school and gave a speech on gun safety in one of my classes. The principle told me to make sure I locked the rifle in my locker until school was out.

    I High School during the fall we would regularly throw our shotguns in the trunk and go hunting after school in Friday's.
     
  8. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Yes there was a shooting range under hill high wasn't there. 4H 22 small bore shooting was comonly held there I believe when I was a child. That was a lot of fun. :thumbup:
     
  9. Wheeler44

    Wheeler44 SW Washington Member

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    My son just shot at old Hillsboro High last year...The ol' range is still there (well at least it was last year)
     
  10. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    ===============================================

    It's gone, now a parking lot.
     
  11. Wheeler44

    Wheeler44 SW Washington Member

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    Bummer....Pave paradise and put up a parking lot....
     
  12. tINY

    tINY Hillsboro (Newton) New Member

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    Sounds like this kid learned a valuable lesson in criminal politics...



    -tINY