Zero Tolerance Lunacy: Student Expelled for Having Guns in His Truck…Off Campus


I remember pulling into the high school parking lot and seeing guns hanging in the back windows of pickups parked there.  But that was a time long ago, before Columbine, the death of common sense and the rise of zero tolerance.

Today it’s common knowledge that you don’t bring a gun to school.  Gary Tudesko, a junior at Willows High knew this, so after a morning of duck hunting, he parked his truck off campus, unloaded the guns and locked the doors.

Then he walked to school.

However:

The shotguns were discovered in the pick up truck by scent-sniffing dogs on October 26th during a questionable school search. Police ran the license plates and determined Tudesko was the owner, then called Tudesko out of class. Tudesko readily told the Principal about the shotguns and his early morning hunting trip.

The school first suspended Tudesko for five days, then extended the suspension indefinitely until an expulsion hearing was held. Tudesko’s mother, Susan Parisio defended her son during the November 19th public hearing on his expulsion. She challenged the school district’s legal jurisdiction to enforce the Education Code’s prohibition of guns on campus for her son having unloaded shotguns locked in an off-campus vehicle parked on a public street. Nonetheless, Willows High Principal Mort Geivett told the local School Board that, as a matter of law, it had no choice but to expel Tudesko. The Board did just that.

How does the school have this kind of power?  Not expulsion, but the authority to search a vehicle that isn’t on its property.  Unless there is some whacked out California law that says the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to high school security, I don’t think they do.

Geivett claimed the school had jurisdiction over students traveling to and from school, as well as students off-campus during lunch, and that the school had jurisdiction over off campus vehicles because students could not possess firearms within 1000 feet of campus. But Geivett confused the Penal Code with the Education Code. With a number of exceptions, it is a potential criminal violation of the Penal Code, specifically the Gun Free School Zones law, to knowingly possess a gun within 1000 feet of a school. But that law has nothing to do with the section of the Education Code Tudesko is charged with violating, which generally prohibits possession of firearms on school grounds. Tudesko’s truck was parked off school grounds. And Gary was not traveling to or from school at the time of the search of the off-campus truck. He was in class. Moreover, schools do not enforce criminal/penal statutes like the Gun Free School Zones law, the District Attorney does. And the District Attorney and Willows Chief of Police have already stated there would be no charges filed against Tudesko, likely because there was no intent to violate the law.

This is zero tolerance lunacy.  The school is out of bounds here.  Tudesko did exactly what he should have done.  He followed the rules.  He was very deliberate in it.

Let’s hope Tudesko has a good legal team.  He needs to get this off his record.  I would think it would be something that tended to follow a person around.

Update:

BRwoman mentioned in the comments to let her know if there is a defense fund. There is:

If you can help fund Gary’s defense and other LAP efforts, please visit www.crpa.org and make a tax deductible donation to the CRPA Foundation. The NRA/CRPA Legal Action Project is a joint venture between the NRA and CRPA Foundation to advance the rights of firearms owners in California. Through LAP, NRA/CRPA attorneys litigate to fight against ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, assist individuals like Gary, and educate state and local officials about the programs at their disposal that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

This is cross-posted from All American Blogger, where you can find other great original articles. While you are there, sign up for a free subscription via RSS or e-mail. What is RSS? Find out here.

Duane Lester

Duane Lester

Duane Lester is co-founder of All American Blogger, and the primary writer. Following graduation, Duane entered the United States Navy as a journalist. He spent five years touring the world, reporting on local news and sports. Following his enlistment, Duane spent almost 10 years working with adjudicated youth in residential treatment environments. Duane discovered politics after September 11. He credits Erich "Mancow" Muller for opening his eyes to his conservative beliefs. Since then, Duane has devoured books and literature on politics, reading everything he can from Adam Smith to Larry Elder to Thomas Sowell. He refers to his style of politics as "conserva-tarian", a mixture of conservative and libertarian beliefs.

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