A student in Wells, Minnesota, has been expelled from high school because she brought a pocket knife to school and the school has a zero-tolerance policy.
The case is a good example of a reality: You don’t enjoy some constitutional rights inside a school that you have outside one, at least if you’re a student.
The Austin Daily Herald says Alyssa Drescher was expelled for the rest of the year after a drug-sniffing dog focused on her locker at United South Central High School. Apparently, the dog was thrown off by perfume coming from her locker. So the authorities searched her locker and found the pocket knife at the school, which also has hosted several gun shows.
Why would a 17-year old need a pocket knife?
She said she left it in her purse after cutting hay bales at her boyfriend’s home a few days prior.
Superintendent Jerry Jensen, who testified at the hearing, said he thought the high school junior willfully violated the school’s weapons policy. He said the safety of all of the students in the school — including Drescher herself — was at risk. “Any weapon in school is a serious situation to me,” Jensen said.
The Mankato Free Press says the student thought about the knife when the drug sniffing was announced, but she didn’t say anything. School policy calls for a 3 to 5 day suspension and Drescher was suspended while the incident was investigated.
Jensen said the action is meant to send a message to the other students.
At the school board hearing yesterday, according to the Free Press, Ms. Drescher didn’t sound like much of a threat.
Witnesses called by Johnson talked of Drescher’s character, both in school and in the community.
“Alyssa is one of those kids you want all kids to be like,” said Lisa Kibler, a Head Start teacher and friend of the Drescher family.
USC Athletic Director Sue Summer talked of Alyssa’s diligence in watching over her younger brother when her father was working.
“Just a great kid,” Summer said.
Bruce Mandler, Drescher’s boss at the local supermarket, said she was a great employee and a role model for other girls in the community.
“Any parent in the school district would be proud to have a daughter like Alyssa, in my opinion,” Mandler said.
Whether any of that mattered to the school board is unclear because it held its subsequent discussion in secret, then voted in public without giving any reason.
The district attorney said the school can’t have two sets of rules, one for the model students and one for the rest.
Discussion point: Should there be? If you’ve been a model student, have you earned the benefit of the doubt?