Zero Tolerance

School Insanity: 17-Year-Old Hunter Faces 'Zero Tolerance' Criminal Charges

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Bayonet
Wikimedia Commons

School administrators and police in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, escalated what seems like a minor disciplinary matter into full-blown criminal charges and likely expulsion for the unlucky teen involved.

What did he do wrong? He was smoking on school property, and is also a hunting enthusiast.

Seventeen-year-old student Alexander Chier was apparently caught smoking by a Pewaukee High School administrator. That's bad, sure—and it is against the rules—but couldn't the school easily have dealt with this on its own?

No, no, the school had to summon the police as well, and then things got much worse for Chiers. A search of his vehicle revealed that the teen had committed the most extreme of zero tolerance violations: being an avid hunter. There was a rifle and bayonet in his car, hunting knives, and 400 rounds of ammunition.

News sources disagree on the timeline. WISN reports that a school official checked the car, noticed the knives, and then called police; TMJ 4 claims that the police were called to the school because of the smoking incident and then discovered the weapons after searching the car. The latter account makes the authorities look worse since it establishes the act of smoking, rather than the discovery of knives, as the impetus for calling the police.

I contacted both the police and the school to clear up the confusion and learn more about what happened—neither office responded immediately.

Regardless of which way it went down, Chier is now facing two criminal charges for bringing weapons onto school grounds. He has also been suspended and will likely be expelled, in keeping with the school's zero tolerance policies.

It's not even a possibility that Chier was actually a danger to the school: police and district officials questioned him and all agreed that this is simply a kid who likes hunting. He said he was storing the rifle for a friend and was planning a trip to the shooting range. Nobody disputes that. He shouldn't have been smoking, and he shouldn't have stored his hunting gear in his car, but that's all he did wrong.

Does the punishment fit the crime? Not even close.

I'll add that the two media reports come off as extremely unsympathetic to Chiers and make all kinds of absurd excuses for the authorities. In particular, here is WISN:

Since Columbine, and the dozens of school shootings since, police have to assume the worst at first.

After recovering the guns, knives and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, police said they had to do everything they could to try to find out if the boy meant to do any harm there.

We know that neither Columbine nor any other school shooting would have been prevented by hysterical overreaction on the part of authorities to accidental breaches of school weapons policies. Zero tolerance does not deter purposeful and murderous delinquents; it always and only punishes harmless and accidental delinquents.

I'll post an update if or when the authorities respond.

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  1. What! They didn’t shoot the kid?

    1. He had a gun in his car…maybe there is some scenario where he could have gotten it? They only like to shoot completely disarmed people.

    2. They would have but they couldn’t provide a dog to “bless” the shooting!

    3. Or his dog?

  2. This is the kind of socialization that homeschooled kids just don’t get.

  3. Since Columbinethe War on Drugs amped up, and the dozens of schoolpolice shootings since, policenon-police have to assume the worst at first [whenever an armed officer shows up on the the scene].

  4. Since Columbine, and the dozens of school shootings since, police have to assume the worst at first.

    WHY? And even if they do why must they persist in it when presented evidence to the contrary?

    1. Yeah, that’s the thing. I can understand, to some degree, the worst-first thinking, even if I think it’s to a large part ridiculous. But to continue on once you’ve figured out that there’s absolutely nothing amiss…

      1. *But to continue on once you’ve figured out that there’s absolutely nothing amiss…*

        I have a hard time believing that this kid and/or his parents have never heard of the rules prohibiting firearms, ammo OR smoking on campus. No sympathy from me.

        1. Some people don’t think of guns as big scary violence machines that could kill tons of innocent students at any moment. Some people think a 17 having a cigarette is the opposite of a big deal.

          You are not one of those people. That’s too bad.

  5. police said they had to do everything they could to try to find out if the boy meant to do any harm

    They jolly well better have waterboarded him.

  6. Easy solution. Just stop sending your kids to school.

    1. But HOW do we stop sending them our $$$ MOO_LAH?!?!?!

    2. That’s an “Easy to say” solution – not an “easy to practice” solution for all parents.

      1. Oh, well that makes it OK then.

      2. Well, if raising your kids isn’t easy, then I guess you should outsource it to authoritarian sociopaths.

  7. I am not blaming the victim, the police and school admins are behaving as badly as they typically seem to do.

    HOWEVER,

    smoking on campus, while you have a car (on campus as well, I believe?) loaded with a rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and knives. Really? You think that’s a good idea? If his intent were to purposely trigger (warning!) the overzealous response from authoritah in order to generate a court case to fight the policies, he could have done so in a far more sympathetic manner. This was some seriously poor judgement on the kid’s part. We expect poor judgement from the police and school admins.

    1. Why couldn’t poor judgement be handled by a conference in the Principal’s office with the parents rather than potentially seriously compromising this teens start in life?

      1. Because guns!

      2. My last sentence: “We expect poor judgement from the police and school admins”.

        Yes, in a sane world where public education had not been handed over to middle-aged commies from the 60’s (most places) or reactionary narrow-minded So Cons (parts of the South) then a stern talking to with kid and parents, along with detention would be the outcome. We don’t live in that world, and neither does the teen who got caught. Shitty way for him to find out, and shame on his parents if they failed to teach him that.

        1. Teenagers are gonna teenage. They are going to break petty rules and pursue their hobbies, if not always in the most meticulous fashion.

    2. Hi Jesus H. Christ,
      I am a (nearly) flat-broke old wino, but I can till afford to fill my bath-tub… I could even afford to pay you a FEW dollahs… If you could come over & turn that tub of water to wine for me? How much would you charge?
      Thanks! -SQRLSY One

      1. I forgot… If I have enough FAITH, You could even do it for me, W/O even visiting me!!! Right? PWEASE?

        1. SQRLSY….I have it on good authority that the lord hears these prayers a little bit better if you voice them in the nude in front of an elementary school.

          I’m sure the almighty will respond with a “sign” of some sort if you just employ this one weird trick.

          1. Ah haz TRIED whut yew said, and now ah ams in jail, scribbling to yew from jail… Will ya come an’ bail me out?!?!? Will Jesus H. Christ, PWEASE come an’ bail me out??!?!!? HELP!!!! Whut kind of a “sign” ***IS*** this, anyway?!?!?

            1. God works in mysterious ways. Chances are you were sent to jail to learn how to make prison hooch.
              Instead of putting your faith in Jesus, you could have queried Mr. Google:

              http://drunkard.com/issues/11-…..lhouse.htm

        2. PS, whiles ah ams at it… Ah also haz a TON of “smart pills” under the rabbit hutch out back. Ah has been takin’ these that them thar “smart pills” fer many years, an’ ah still don’t know, is them that thar “smart pills” a-workin’ fer me, or not? … In any case, ah haz WAY more “smart pills” than ah can deal with, ya mind seein’ if You can turn them into “Hill-Billy Heroin, AKA pain pills, fer me??? Ah promises to try an’ have FAITH in yew…

          1. SQRLSY, while I applaud your boldness, I must regretfully inform you the answer is “no”. Prior to granting any wishes or prayers I do a thorough background check. I’m afraid what you euphemistically call “milking the sheep” goes well beyond “not ok”. And the only way to make that bathtub safe to drink from would be to burn it.

            Hope to see you soon!

            ps just kidding about the “see you soon” I’ve got a wicked sense of humor!

            xo xo ox ox

            1. But? But? But Jesus H. Christ, SIR!!! Is there SOME way ah cans appeal, some appeals procedure, whereby ah ken appeal to a Higher Authoritah maybe? Maybe if in conjunction w/mah appeals, ah butters mahself, and ah? (hangs head in DEEPEST shame) stops selfishly milkin’ mah own sheep, and submit to the pubic, Higher Good, and milk the sheep of, say, fer example, Cumrade Bro’ Intergalactic Emperor Obozo? PWEASE?!?! Just ONE small, second chance??!?! PWEASE?!?!

    3. Classic example of “I’m not blaming the victim, BUT” and the procee to blame the victim. Oh but don’t worry, it’s different and totally cool to blame the victim when you are dishonest with yourself about what you’re doing.

      1. Way to completely miss the point.

        1. The point, I guess was that you are blaming the living shit out of the victim?

    4. But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school!

      1. Yeah, it wasn’t allowed when I went to school either – unless you were a teacher or part of the administration. I smoked there anyway and so did just about every other kid who smoked. Used to even buy my cigs from a cigarette machine across the street at the bus stop.

  8. At my high school there was a room set aside for students 16 and up to smoke if you got your parents permission, seems reasonable.

    How does being caught smoking lead to your car being searched…warrant?

    1. BACK IN MAH DAYYY, WE SMOKED CEE-GARS IN CLASS, AH-YUP.

      Snore.

      Reason really seems to be classin’ it up lately in their headline department. Because there’s so little difference between ZOMG ZERO TOLERANCE! and FOUR HUNDRED ROUNDS OF AMMO + RIFLE.

      Hopefully this will scare the stupid out of this kid.

      1. Criminal charges have a way of doing more than simply scaring.

      2. The police were called because he was caught smoking. How that justifies searching his car you conveniently ignore.

        1. Why does being caught with cigarettes justify having your car searched.

          Ok, smoking is against the rules, remove the cigarettes, call the parents and request a conference. Issue whatever discipline is appropriate, return the cigarettes to the parents…problem solved.

        2. And why even call the cops because a kid is caught smoking in school.

          1. That’s why schools have boys’ rooms.

          2. It’s illegal in CA. I would bet that there’s special laws regarding school zones, likely enabling searching of cars and lockers if caught with contraband.

            Another issue I’d like to see Reason address is the total screwing minors get. Between prohibition of contracts, wacky employment rules, curfews, truancy laws, and the ambiguity of the juvenile justice system, they get jacked plenty.

        3. If they can afford a good enough lawyer, and if they can show that the cops were called for smoking, and not knives, then I think they’ve got pretty good chance of getting this case thrown our.

      3. Go fuck yourself Tulpa.

      4. It was sometime when I was in middle/high school that kids were no longer allowed to keep their rifles in their trucks rifle racks at my school and I’m not even 30 yet. I’m curious what your reaction would be if instead of a rifle he had a joint in his car. Either way an extreme over reaction is guaranteed. The # of rounds is hardly relevant in a school shooting scenario he’s not going to be loading 400 rounds of ammo…

    2. The 1950’s must have been an interesting decade.

      1. We had a smoking area at my school in the late 80’s. It was outside. The age to buy cigarettes was 16 at the time.

        1. As here in Scotland at that time.

          The truly hard-core smokers at my school were the teachers.

          1. Whereabouts in Scotland?

            1. Bonny Borders.

              1. isn’t that part of the UK?

                1. Yes for now!

                  Tomorrow who knows!

      2. There was a smoke room in our high school till the 80’s.

        So spandex and Van Halen AND Marlboros!

        1. We didn’t have a smoke room but the older students would go outside to smoke with the teachers in the mid ’80’s at my school in central NJ.

  9. I like to scare my non gun owning friends by telling them how many rounds I keep in my ammo safe. It’s in the thousands. I don’t tell them it’s 22lr and it comes in packs of 500.

    1. Yew is a that them thar dad-gummed full-blowed TERRORIST, that them thar is whut yew R!!!!

    2. Good thing you didn’t mention that because people don’t kill people, guns kill people and the .22 is historically the most murderous caliber type.

    3. I remember when they used to come in packs of 550.

      1. I remember being a boy and buying remington goldenbullets by the bucket (1400 for 15 bucks)

  10. There are lots of examples of absurd zero-tolerance overreaction, but I’m sorry, this just isn’t one of them. The kid isn’t in trouble for “being an avid hunter,” he’s in trouble for bringing a rifle onto school grounds. Given that he meant no harm and was just being stupid, should they cut him a break? Yeah, probably. But seriously, he did bring a real gun, with ammo, to school.

    1. LessIsMore says you and I are blaming the victim for pointing out he exercised poor judgement.

      1. Perhaps if you spent more energy disclaiming the gross stupidity of the adults, and less going into detail about how dumb this kid was, people might not take it as “blaming the victim.”

        1. Others have already done a fine job of it, and I do point out that the authorities are behaving badly. We live in a world where the people in charge are statist fuckwads. He conducted himself in a manner almost sure to set them off. Yes, it’s wrong, and it’s not fair, and it’s not his fault his parents and his parents before him have been fearful and intellectually lazy such that he lives in a world largely run by merciless assholes.

          But that is the public education system and one would hope he was already aware of how unreasonable, irrational and vengeful the authorities will be when given the opportunity.

    2. Easily handled by a lecture and detention, extra chores at home etc.

      1. I agree.

        1. Along with twenty-five Hail Marys.

    3. “Given that he meant no harm and was just being stupid, should they cut him a break? Yeah, probably.”

      So, this is a zero-tolerance overreaction. Thanks for clearing that up.

    4. It never left his trunk. The poor judgement was in that he thought he wasn’t subject to at-will searches. The kind of searches parolees used to have an exclusive on.

    5. He left them in his car, if rifles jumped out of cars and started hunting people by themselves you’d have a point… as it is the only point you can make is he was stupid to violate the stupid rules.

      Kinda like someone who smokes pot is stupid to put themselves at risk of being caught by stupid people enforcing stupid rules.. but when they are caught I still put the bulk of the blame on the stupid rules/enforcers.

  11. Since Columbine, and the dozens of school shootings since, police have to assume the worst at first.

    DOZENS?

    [citation needed]

    1. good catch

    2. There was that kid with the pastry pistol. That one apparently led to serious brain damage in quite a few adults.

    3. Yeah, that struck me as a tad hyperbolic as well.

  12. But if you go carryin’
    pictures of Chairman Mao a rifle and 400 rounds on school grounds these days
    (even in your car)
    You ain’t gonna make it
    with anyone
    anyhowwwwwww….

    Except the cops.

    the end

    1. But the telephone is ringing and they tell me it’s Chairman Mao.

      1. I’m smokin by my car now, and I got a gun.

  13. The Kid was wrong… the school was wrong… the cops were wrong… this whole BLOG is wrong!

    (hat tip to Jack!)

  14. my co-worker’s mother-in-law makes $67 every hour on the laptop . She has been out of work for 6 months but last month her pay check was $14046 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out here……………..

    http://www.Jobsbat.com

    1. But does she make this money while smoking on school property with a gun in her vehicle?

  15. police have to assume the worst at first.

    “Presumption of innocence” & “burden of proof”: What are these things?

    A search of his vehicle-

    STOP! How the fuck do they justify searching a students vehicle just because he was smoking?

  16. Sheesh. Good thing they never looked in my car during hunting season when I was in High School, or 1/2 of the other kids there too. Wyoming during hunting season (and I’d assume Wisconsin too) is full of guns/ammo.

  17. my co-worker’s step-sister makes $72 an hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her payment was $20521 just working on the computer for a few hours. browse this site….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  18. Was it a shotgun or a bolt action rifle? Why is does it fucking matter how many rounds he has and why report on that but not type of weapon he had in his truck?

    1. but what kind of truck was it? inquiring minds want to know.

  19. Clear example of an idiot not doing his due diligence to make sure he fits the current posture required of the totalitarian state. Just some teen too involved with enjoying his life. Not interested in hurting anyone just doing his thing. His parents forgot to teach him that he does not belong to himself…He lives only at the pleasure of the state. He certainly deserves to be locked up for a long time.

  20. Zero tolerance is zero sense.

  21. Number one, this kid is not a victim. He broke a series of rules that the school had, and his parents either did, or could have had a part in. There is so much stupidity to go around, The kid for breaking the rules, and i’m going to go ahead and guess that he consented to the search of his car. The parents of the kid are also idiots. Really you’re gonna let your minor child drive around with a weapon in his car?
    Also, are bayonets a common feature on hunting rifles? I bet that set off some warning bells.

    1. you are what’s wrong in America

  22. my neighbor’s ex-wife makes $67 every hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her payment was $18205 just working on the computer for a few hours. browse this site….

    ???????? http://www.jobsaa.com

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