Hit & Run

Kid Suspended for Bringing an Empty Shell Casing to School


Mike Brown / Wikimedia Commons

Question: What explosive device presents zero threat to anyone?

Answer: An empty rifle shell. And yet, a student at Chanute Elementary School in Chanute, Kansas, was just suspended for five days for bringing one to school. His mom told The Chanute Tribune that Principal Gary Wheeler said her son got off easy. He could have given the boy 168 days to cool his heels.

(Which sounds suspiciously like a plea bargain made by a corrupt D.A.)

But anyway: Why would a boy have a rifle shell with him at all, if he wasn't some kind of gun-crazed threat to all child-kind?

Carlson said her son, Camron Carlson, was out with her the night before, Tuesday Dec. 2, where she was sighting a rifle for deer hunting season with a friend, and he picked up one of the empty shell casings and put it in his pocket. 

Carlson said her son had told his friends that they had been sighting rifles the night before, and that the shell casing fell out of his pocket.

"There was no threat," she said. "My child's never been in a fight at school. He was just being a boy and bragging because it's cool."

The reporter, Joshua Vail, does a good job of tracking down the school handbook, which states that the punishment for a minor infraction is supposed to be detention, talking to the student and/or parent notification. Punishment for carrying a weapon or ammo is 186-day expulsion.

Except a spent shell is not ammo any more than ashes are fireworks. Who's the person in this story in need of an education? 


Anyway, if all this sounds eerily familiar, perhaps you are recalling the 2008 case in Winchendon, Mass., when Bradley Geslak, age 10, received a 5-day suspension for bringing a rifle shell casing he got from a vet at his town's Memorial Day celebration. In that incident, according to the local News Telegram:

The family said they were also told that the next step might involve assigning a probation officer to Bradley.

Ah, the wisdom of our elders: Treating kids as criminals when there was zero intent and zero harm. That's zero tolerance for you.