Student lets teacher know about knife, may be expelled

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -- When students are in school and they see something they are told to say something. But what if the right thing to do in turn gets you in trouble? That’s the reality for one family.

“Fourth period was PE so I went into the locker room and I grabbed my shorts out of my bag and that’s when I saw the knife,” Joseph McDrummond said.

"Our policy is a no weapons policy. So weapons cannot come into school at all,” Twin Falls School District Public Information Officer Eva Craner said.

Knowing the policy he brought the backpack with the knife inside directly to his gym teacher.

“I was sitting in the office and then I talked to the associate principal and he said because of the length of the knife, I was getting suspended and waiting for an expulsion hearing,” Joseph said.

His father wanted the truth from his son. Like any parent, he was willing to fight for his son's rights, but only if his son was honest and wasn’t intentionally breaking the law.

"So I asked him. I said, 'Hey what were you thinking? Why did you have the knife with you?' He said 'Dad, I didn't know it was in there,'” Stacy McDrummond, Joseph’s father, said.

“We know mistakes happen, so if a student realizes they made a mistake, it’s best to immediately go to their teacher, the office, go to the S.R.O. and make sure they’re aware,” Craner said.

Regardless of being honest about the knife, school leaders had to take disciplinary action, even if it felt unfair.

“The policy is based on law and the law is very strict. It is absolutely not, it doesn’t matter the circumstances that student shall be expelled,” Craner said.

Immediately after the incident Joseph was suspended from school. The McDrummond family received a letter from the school in the mail stating that Joseph has to stay at home until his hearing. That hearing is scheduled for either the October 23 or 26.

Until then, he has to pick up his school work and do it from home. If after the hearing his expulsion is for an extended amount of time, the family will have to look into alternative schooling such as an online program.

Expulsion usually is regarded as being kicked out of school and never allowed back in. But in this case, school leaders can decide the length of the expulsion at the hearing. The expulsion could last anywhere from one day, to months. to a year, or not being allowed to come back ever again.

“I’m behind the rules, 100%, I get it, and I agree with them,” Stacey said.

Safety of students should never be overlooked.

“Of course the time that the student shall be expelled depends on the circumstances. That’s where we do have a little bit of a leeway. But other than that it is zero tolerance,” Craner said.

What lessons can be taught from Joseph’s mishap though and is there any change possible in the future?

“It was an accident. If it wasn’t an accident then I get it totally. But you can’t have a kid do something right and then turn around and they’re in trouble for it,” Stacy said.

“It’s very serious. Bringing a weapon to school. Even without having bad intentions is against the rules, and it’s against the law,” Craner said.

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