Need to Vent a little (OK a LOT)

  1. Let me start by apologizing to those of you who will disagree with my parenting methods from the get go. All I have to say about that is everyone has their own opinions.

    I come from a family of avid hunters. We have several guns in our house all kept in a safe with a combination AND a key lock. My oldest son who turned 14 last June was baptized into the lifestyle by my father. For Christmas, he was given, a .22, a compound bow and a pocket knife. Along with the hunter's safety courses to go with them. He doies not have access to the gun or the bow without the combination and the key to the safe.

    But, he is a very responsible kid. Straight A student who has never been in trouble in school. He has his sights set on the Air Force Academy. As teenagers go, I have gotten very lucky. He is a typical mouthy teenager but I never have to ask him if he did his homework or anything like that. It is just automatically done.
    He also plays for the junior high football team. As a team member they are required to go the home varsity games as well.
    Last Friday night he went to the game after the homecoming parade. They had thrown candy during the parade and his pockets were full of it. While he was at the game he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocketknife which was wedged into the bottom of his cargo pants pocket. He swears up and down he had forgotten completely that it was there. So he made a mistake and followed it up by a stupid decision. Rather than coming home or taking it to an adult and saying hey I forgot I had this in my pocket, can you take it? He showed it to a a stadium full of people.
    Someone saw him of course... and immediately went to the principle. The principle confronted Tommy and Tommy said yes sir and promptly handed it over without being asked. Then, the cops show up and he is questioned (without them notifying us) and they bring him home.

    We accepted that there were to be some consequences to this. I spoke to his principal Monday morning and he said "Ma'am your son has been in my school for 4 years and I have never met him. That says something." The school's weapons policy calls for an automatic 10 day OSS and a formal expulsion hearing in front of the school board. His principal had such faith in him that he reduced the whole thing to 3 days of OSS. We were happy with that, until yesterday.

    We get a letter in the mail from the Pennsylvania Juvenile Probation Board. The police are pressing charges! If he were a troubled kid or had had other brushes with the law I might understand this. But when he is 17 and looking for a congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy, this could ruin it for him. All because he made a mistake followed up by a dumb choice.

    Now I will be the first one to tell you, if I thought he had done anything really wrong I would not be defending him. He knows our stance on this well enough that the officer who brought him home said he just kept saying my parents are going to kill me. If he had pulled the knife on someone and threatened someone with it, I would be hauling his butt to the police myself.

    I did some research. I understand that school violence is a problem. But sometimes I think they are going overboard. In North Carolina a kindergartner was EXPELLED for having a toy gun. In Texas, a teenager was expelled in his senior year for having a screwdriver in his car. Just last year, I got a call from the principal of my little (he's 7) one's school. He had taken one of his army men to school and the army man was holding a gun. No matter that it was a gun that was less than a centimeter long. They had to confiscate it.
    OK I feel a little better now that I have vented. And let me reiterate. I apologize to those of you who think I am a horrible human being for allowing my son to have these things. Everyone has their own opinion about this subject and mine happens that it is OK if they are taught to be responsible with them. I would not go out and buy him an AK-47 but if he wants to go hunting with his grandpa I don't see why I should stop him.
  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   BabyRN2Be
    Forgive me if I'm stomping on other's beliefs, but this whole thing has gone overboard. While I don't think I'd buy my kid a gone, they'd find a way to make one, why? They have it in their blood. The pastor at our church the other day, in a series on Sex and Gender, said that the recipe to boy fun is simple: add one element of danger, mix it with speed, top it off with some kind of challenge... he'll have an afternoon he'll never forget.

    He also made a point which I never thought of but he's absolutely right: You can take the toy guns out of Toys R Us, Wal-Mart but that's not going to do any good. Why? They'll make 'em out of sticks.

    Yes, I know that some of these episodes do turn violent, but it's not a huge majority. But suspending kindergartners for carrying army men that have little tiny guns, now that's a little overboard. Once agree that there are kids who have problems and will act out, but I pray that your board will see that your son made a bad choice. I mean, we're not talking about taking out a whole stadium of people or even one person.

    I just pray that they will have good judgment, that your son is a great boy who has great dreams. I pray that they'll be able to reason and see this.

    My thoughts are with you.

  4. by   fergus51
    What is he being charged with?
  5. by   Katnip
    I've got to agree. I'm not a gun owner and never have been, but unfortunately rather than taking things on an individual basis, schools and other institutions make blanket, across the board rules without thinking of all the consequences.

    It's easier for them that way because they don't have to spend a lot of time and money investigating each situation.

    When we lived in Virginia they had instituted what was called SOLs in the schools. In order to graduate from school kids HAD to pass the test. A young high school girl who had won thousands of dollars in scholarships because of her very high grades and difficult level of courses failed the SOL and the state refused to allow her to graduate. Her SAT scores were outstanding.

    It took a long time for the girl's family to appeal, but I think they did. In the meantime, she'd lost her scolarships and her place that year in the college of her choice.

    It's not the same type of situation, but because of short-sited lawmakers, another young life was severely damaged.

    I do hope that you and your son can find a way out of this.
  6. by   Sapphy
    We have not even been told what he is being charged with. I assume it will be Possession of a Weapon on school grounds.... The whole thing is really hokey as far as I am concerned. The fact that he was questioned without us being notified was the first thing to bother me. Now I just have to show up at this hearing on the 24th without even knowing the charges???
  7. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Sapphy
    We have not even been told what he is being charged with. I assume it will be Possession of a Weapon on school grounds.... The whole thing is really hokey as far as I am concerned. The fact that he was questioned without us being notified was the first thing to bother me. Now I just have to show up at this hearing on the 24th without even knowing the charges???
    i'm sorry you and your family are going through this. it does indeed sound like he's been taught responsibly. as for the charges, no matter what they are, you can appeal them. your son doesn't need to have a record needlessly. much luck to you.

  8. by   Kelly_the_Great
    Hey Sapphy,

    Just wanted to tell you I'm sorry for what you're going through :icon_hug:

    Hope everything works out okay. They have gone so overboard with things.
  9. by   tencat
    I was a teacher for 12 years, and I agree that this whole thing has gotten completely out of hand.

    Hire a lawyer and get the school officials (teachers, principal, coach, whomever) to write letters in his defense or show up at a hearing. If you make enough trouble for the city, state, whatever the government entity is, and I'll bet they drop it. He's not a trouble maker, so I don't see why they wouldn't drop it. Good luck to you.
  10. by   Roy Fokker
    This is dumb.

    And I agree, I think it really stinks that you don't even know what he is being charged with. Didn't they tell you son?

    Hundreds of kids learn how to use firearms on a daily basis. A couple of kids decide to go on a homicidal rampage and instantly, every kid with a gun is labeled a potential threat. Apparently, you can be held responsible for the actions of other idiots - to hell with what you did or didn't do.

    The wonders of our society never cease to amaze me!
  11. by   moonchild20002000
    I am so sorry your son and your family is going through this.

    As I read your story I find myself becoming so angry! I think you need to consult with an attorney. I can't believe that your son is being charged and no one knows what the charges are. iI agree with one of the other posters,make a lot of noise! You hate to think this could affect his future but the way things are now who knows. The authorities need to look at your sons record. It sounds like you have raised a responsible son. A pocketknife does not put him in the same category as some of these violent offenders.

    I understand and agree with the zero tolerence rule.I think the at risk kids need early identification and interventon.

    When I read stories like yours I have to wonder what the adults were thinking. Or, were they thinking? JMO
  12. by   H ynnoD
    Things have changed alot.When I was in High School we lived in the country.Our High school was in the country.Me and a Buddy were out shooting his 22.We decided to go to the arcade.This was on a Saturday.We cut across school on the way and stuck the 22 in my locker.Then went to the arcade.Forgot all about the gun till monday morning.Someone seen it when I was getting books out of my locker and turned me in.All they did was take the gun and make my Buddys mom come pick it up after school.Nothing else happened.Way much different today.

    If you can.Get a Lawyer.They probably will drop the charges.
  13. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from Sapphy
    We have not even been told what he is being charged with. I assume it will be Possession of a Weapon on school grounds.... The whole thing is really hokey as far as I am concerned. The fact that he was questioned without us being notified was the first thing to bother me. Now I just have to show up at this hearing on the 24th without even knowing the charges???
    I am truly sorry about this. I DO think he made an innocent mistake and he should not be treated as a criminal. When you find out what the charges are.....definitely appeal them. I am sure you can and will demonstrate what a good kid he is and the evidence will speak for itself.

    Needless to say, just because a few kids in the past have terrorized school everyone must pay the same price.

    I truly wish him and you the best of luck.

    Confy that he will get out of this spot clean.

  14. by   jkaee
    My MIL works in the school system, and I can tell you (as others have) if you get a lawyer, and threaten to make a big stink (ie: contacting newspapers, radio stations, etc) most likely the school will drop it. The LAST thing schools want is to be involved with a scandal. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but in order to be charged with something, doesn't your son need to have his Miranda rights read to him? I also thought it was illegal to question a minor without at least parental notification.

    Contact a lawyer, and let him/her contact the school system and the police. I can bet once they hear from a lawyer, they will settle this quickly.

    Good luck to you.