What's the policy for schools if they catch your child with a dangerous weapon?
"I didn??t want to be expelled," said Seth Coburn. "I like school."
Seth Coburn was expelled from Gwinn in January for bringing a three-inch knife to school. The 11 year old says he worked with his dad the night before and accidentally left the knife in his pant's pocket. The next morning in a rush to catch the bus, he threw on the same pair of pants.
"I felt it and I was like, uh-oh," Seth explained. "I went to my locker, put it in my backpack, and got in trouble."
Seth??s father, John, said there??s "no doubt" he broke a rule but didn??t agree with the punishment.
"I can see a 10-day suspension, but not 180 days," said John. "They just kept saying it's state law; they have to do it."
According to state law , any student caught with a dangerous weapon, including a knife, can be expelled.
A dangerous weapon is defined as "a firearm, dagger, dirk, stiletto, knife with a blade over three (3) inches in length, pocket knife opened by a mechanical device, iron bar, or brass knuckles" or other devices designed to, or likely to, inflict bodily harm, including, but not limited to, air guns and explosive devices.
School boards can make exceptions if:
* The object was not possessed by the student for use as a weapon* The weapon was unknowingly possessed* The student didn't know it was a weapon* Or the weapon was given to a student with permission from school or authorities
"If it??s a knife and it??s on campus, it??s going to lead to an expulsion," said NICE Community Schools Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine. "With the things that have happened in schools around the nation, we just can??t be relaxed when it comes to that kind of thing."
But, at the end of the day, it??s the school districts' choice to make that call.
"In my experience, you have to take in all the evidence," said Iron Mountain School superintendent, Tom Jayne. "Was it a mistake? Was it malice?"
"Render a decision in the best interest of the students and the school," Jayne stated.