Free-Range Kids

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.

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  1. “Principal Gary Wheeler said her son got off easy. He could have given the boy 168 days to cool his heels.

    I would have told him “Well, I could sue you and the school for being alarmist twits and interfering with my Son’s right to an education because of your weapons fetish. So how about we retreat to neutral corners, and you let my son back. My son can get along without your school, especially if I win a large settlement because you are being hysterical. You, on the other hand, are going to find it hard to find a job if there is a public record of you being a nut.”

    1. right to education? hmm, I would phrase that differently. Course, this idiot principal might actually think that such a right exists

  2. I mean, the major problem with these “Zero Tolerance policies” is that the idiots applying them think of themselves as being superior to the public. We need to remind them that they are, at base, hirelings.

    1. and dimwitted hirelings, at that.

  3. The kid should just consider himself lucky he doesn’t live in the District of Columbia, where possession of a spent shell casing is a criminal offense that could put him in the hoosegow for up to a year (although, if that were his only firearms offense, “the prosecution may, in the operation of its discretion, offer an administrative disposition whereby a person may immediately resolve his or her case upon payment of a fine, in an amount set by the Board of Judges of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia”).

  4. An empty casing is not ammunition. This is so basic a concept it does not require special training.

    It seems to me that Principal Wheeler’s cognitive impairment is clearly grounds for him being relieved of his position.

    Such a mentally dysfunctional individual should not be allowed around children, much less making decisions which impact their lives and mental development.

    1. You would think it would be a pretty basic concept. We had something very similar happen when my daughter was in first or second grade. She had an empty casing from the Honor Guard’s salute at the funeral of a relative who was a Pearl Harbor survivor. It fell out of her backpack and rolled up to the front of the school bus where the driver picked it up and asked who it belonged to.

      When she dropped off my daughter, she got off the bus and told my husband that she should report the matter but wasn’t going to because “all hell would break loose” and that seemed ridiculous to her. I think she would have, however, if my daughter hadn’t immediately stepped forward and explained exactly what it was and why she had it. She is right though that all hell would have broken loose if she’d reported it – I’d have seen to that.

      1. I’m glad it worked out well for you and your daughter.

        1. Thank you. It was kind of funny – the driver clearly thought it was something she was supposed to report, and we were relieved that she let reason prevail (pardon the pun). On the other hand, I don’t see how it violated any school policy since it wasn’t a weapon or a dangerous implement of any kind. Of course, as well all know, too many administrators don’t see that as a deterrent at all.

  5. I am 100% certain that I brought an empty shell to school many times, because my pen pal “boyfriend” sent one to me after a hunting trip.

    1. Why do I suspect that nowadays such a letter would be considered a threat?

      1. Especially since said letter with said shell came from Turkey.

        1. From Turkey? He would’ve ended up at Gitmo nowadays.

  6. Aside from this pants wetting policy, the most exciting thing happening in Chanute right now is the town’s plan to build a municipal broadband network.…..aign=78456

    When complete, the network is expected to offer residents and businesses in the small southeast Kansas city 1GB connections for a cost of $40 a month — which is cheaper and faster than anything now available.

    But AT&T, which currently offers city residents DSL service with a maximum speed of 6 Mbps, could throw a wrench into the city’s plans.

    This week, regulators with the Kansas Corporation Commission granted the telecom’s request to intervene in the agency’s consideration of Chanute’s request to sell bonds. A 1947 law reportedly requires the Kansas Corporation Commission to approve cities’ attempts to sell bonds.

    AT&T said in its petition to intervene that its interests as well as its customers “may be affected by any order or determination of the Commission.”

  7. A fired cartridge is now longer ammunition; it’s a tube-shaped piece of brass no more dangerous than any other brass tube of the same size.

    1. Mostly useful as a whistle.

  8. it blows my mind that in modern America a teenager can go straight from thirteen years of Zero Tolerance public school, walk down to the recruiting office and be given a government-issued rifle and instructions on how to kill people with it. Our schizophrenic little country.

    1. You missed the point – the government can have guns, the peasants can’t.

  9. You know, hate is a strong word, but I hate these people. Does anyone doubt that these very same sorts of people are the sort that run re-education camps and such?

    1. The sorts of people?

      They are the people *currently* running re-education camps. That’s what public schools are, from kindergarten to graduate school. Much of private education as well.

  10. “168 days? Huh. What a coincidence. That is how long you will be in traction if you don’t retract my kid’s suspension.”

  11. I think I’ve heard of a similar story from Massachusetts. Nuts.

    I always used to scramble for the spent cartridges at the Memorial Day parade and carry them around with me and use them for whistles. No one seemed to mind. I remember once one kid had an actual live round in his pocket on the school bus that he was showing to people. I think he got a stern talking to, but that was about it.

  12. What’s the matter with Kansas?

  13. Finally Chanute, Kansas has put itself on the map.

  14. “My child’s never been in a fight at school. He was just being a boy and bragging because it’s cool.”

    I bet this crazy little fucker also likes to ‘bulls-eye’ Womp Rats in his T-16 back home.

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

      For what, exactly? From what I read, there was no conviction of an actual crime. I know, I know. That’s just a technicality these days.

      1. The one who needs a ‘minder’ is the principal.

  15. Christ almighty society is doomed… When I was in high school, it wasn’t unusual for us to go hunting before or after class let out. There were usually several pickup trucks with shotguns or rifles hung in gun racks in the back window.

  16. I looked at the paycheck which had said $7434 , I didn’t believe that my mom in-law realy bringing in money in their spare time at their computer. . there brothers friend has been doing this for only 16 months and just paid for the morgage on there place and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5 .
    You can join just easy ——-

  17. This isn’t random stupidity, and it’s no joke. It’s a concerted effort to delegitimize gun use and ownership by the peasants.

  18. An “empty” rifle shell is not an explosive device as it contains nothing explosive, it is just a piece of scrap.
    But, it seems the heads of educrats are very similar, they contain nothing too.

  19. Suspended? That’s nothing.

    Bring him to Massachusetts where kids can and have been criminally charged for the same conduct.

    In Massachusetts, a cartridge case (a.k.a. “spent brass”) is considered “ammunition” just as much as a live cartridge, which requires a permit. Violation is a 2 year misdemeanor. (Mass. Gen. Law ch. 269, s. 10(h) and (o))

    To think, a little kid who runs out and grabs the brass fired by the American Legion honor guard on Memorial Day has just committed a criminal misdemeanor.

  20. Completely insane.

  21. That’s just silly! Shell casing is not dangerous at all, it’s a mere piece of metal. Kids can deal so much more damage to each other with a regular pen. I would say that if symbolism means so much to you maybe education is not your element. Go somewhere else and let the boy study. I doubt this man can write a best custom essay or recite Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart but he surely does have high principles when it comes to students. I hope the boy is going to leave this school.

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