Gary Tudesko, a junior at Willows High School in Willows, California has been suspended for having unloaded shotguns in his pick-up truck. However, the truck was not parked on school campus. The Willows Unified School District board of trustees voted 4-0 in a public hearing to expel the sixteen-year-old, after the guns were found by scent-sniffing dogs. When this occurred, Tudesko was brought out to the truck and asserted that the guns and shells were in the vehicle, allowing it to be searched. Police also found a three-inch knife and are holding all of the potential weapons.
The student’s mother, Susan Parisio, defended her son at the hearing and claimed that he should have stored the shotguns properly after a day of bird hunting, but insisted the district’s policies don’t extend to off-campus property. She also claimed her family has owned guns for her son’s entire life and that ammunition was found in other students’ cars but they were not expelled.
While the school’s principal and district officials did not dispute that the truck was not on school property, they did attempt to justify their decision. Principal Mort Geivett said the school is responsible for students traveling to and from school and it was his belief that students shouldn’t possess weapons within 1,000 feet of campus.
Tudesko apologized to the school board, but insisted that he didn’t want to be late to school and felt that parking in a public place that was on school grounds would prevent him from getting in trouble. The school board failed to comment on their decision.
So, was this a case of government officials using their authority to force their anti-Second Amendment rights agenda? I can’t be sure of that, but assuming there are no extraneous details, I can assume the School Board is out of line by expelling the student.
I understand the principal’s desire to be safe, rather than sorry, but I don’t feel that he was within his right, nor was the school board. Punishing a student based on “beliefs” rather than rules and regulations is, in my opinion, unconstitutional. The student was within his right to carry the guns in his car and never brought them on campus. As far as I know, the student didn’t even threaten or talk about bringing the firearms on campus. If the principal “believes” that students shouldn’t be allowed to bring weapons to school, he should act on making this into a school policy, not make one single student into an example and permanently ruin that student’s record.