A senior at Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tenn. has been suspended for 10 days and faces a multitude of additional punishments including criminal charges because school officials found a knife belonging to his father inside his father’s car.
The student is David Duren-Sanner, reports local CBS affiliate WTVF.
The student’s father is a commercial fisherman who works on the West Coast. The father left — wait for it — a fishing knife in the car.
Duren-Sanner has sworn he knew nothing about it.
The boy’s father noted that the knife could have easily been wedged between two seats.
The incident occurred on Thursday.
“They called on the intercom that we had a random lockdown search,” Duren-Sanner told WTVF.
The car he drove to school was randomly chosen for a search.
“I was, like, ‘Sure, no problem.’ I didn’t have anything to hide,” he explained. “And he said, ‘Do you have anything that we might need to know about?'”
Duren-Sanner mentioned that his dad chews tobacco, so there would likely be snuff in the car.
The blade on the knife is longer than three inches. Consequently, school officials consider the knife a dangerous weapon.
Duren-Sanner tried to explain that the knife belonged to his father, the owner of the car, but to no avail.
School officials immediately suspended the senior for 10 days.
He will not be allowed to return to school when that 10-day period is up. Instead, Duren-Sanner must attend an alternative school full of alternative school students for 90 days after the suspension ends.
On top of all this punishment, he faces weapons charges thanks to the sheriff’s department, which concluded that the knife was effectively in the boy’s possession.
Peggy Duren, Duren-Sanner’s grandmother, said she tried to tell school officials that her grandson did not own the fishing knife. However, the tough vice principal was having none of it.
“Guilty until proven innocent,” Duren lamented. “It’s part of this zero tolerance policy.”
“He doesn’t deserve that,” Duren-Sanner’s grandmother added.
“It makes me sad. It breaks my heart that this is happening to kids,” she told the CBS station.
She also noted that her grandson has maintained a 3.0 grade point average. He is part of the ROTC program. He hopes to obtain scholarship help to attend college, but that’s in serious jeopardy now.
Duren-Sanner will appeal the draconian sentence from school officials on Wednesday. If he loses, he won’t get to go to prom or walk across in his graduation. He may not be able to graduate at all.
An active online petition at Change.org urges school officials to drop the charges against the student and end his suspension.