Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Boys and Knives

Posted by Maggie on September 5, 2007

There’s a particular set of facts I handled several times when I worked with juveniles.  It goes like this.  Kid likes hunting and/or fishing.  Kid often leaves hunting/fishing gear in his truck.  Kid’s truck is searched by school officials and they find a knife–usually a swiss army knife.  Kid is charged with a felony for possessing a weapon on school property.  In all these cases, everyone agrees that the kid didn’t intend to bring the weapon into school or commit any crime with it.  In all these cases, everyone agrees the kid didn’t realize the knife was there.  Now it seems one kid’s parents have called the media.

These cases always frustrated me. It’s a reason why schools need to develop a set of policies regarding when they handle problems internally and when externally. Most kids are usually willing to take a suspension for that kind of mistake, but giving them felony charges is crazy. The kid thinks so, too.

“When the principal said to me, ‘This could kill someone,’ I said to him, ‘So could a pencil.’”

I was fortunate enough to get all my cases dismissed when we found out that the school officials would let some kids in the same circumstances completely off the hook and send others to the cops or when the search was done improperly. I hope this kid gets something similar.

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