An Ohio high school student training to be an EMT was charged with a felony and sent to jail for 13 days because police found a pocketknife during an unauthorized search of his car.
Jordan Wiser, an 18-year-old student at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus in Jefferson, Ohio, is an EMT trainee with a passion for self-defense and public service. He aspires to be a firefighter, and is a certified emergency vehicle operator. Wiser is comfortable with weapons, and posts Youtube videos of himself talking about law enforcement, self-defense and video games.
Apparently, school administrators caught wind of the videos, which led them to believe that Wiser was in possession of weapons, according to The Huffington Post.
Police searched Wiser’s car without his permission, discovering a pocketknife, stun gun and airsoft guns. Airsoft guns fire non-lethal, plastic pellets, and are used in sports games.
“I didn’t think anything of the Airsoft guns,” said Wiser in a statement. “Our school is a technical school, and I was planning on meeting with my Airsoft team after school. My stun gun was locked in the glove box, and the knife was in my EMT medical vest. I bought it at K-Mart and have it as part of my first responder kit for cutting seatbelts.”
The pocketknife violates the school district’s zero tolerance policy against bringing weapons onto school property — a class 5 felony.
For his crime, Wiser was carted off to jail for 13 days.
He is worried that a conviction will destroy his chance at a career in public service. Indeed, he has already been expelled from high school and technical school, and had his participation in the U.S. Army’s Future Soldiers program terminated.
“I won’t even be able to be a janitor. I’m 18 years old, and this is going to ruin my entire life,” he said.
Prosecutors aren’t backing down, however.
“We charge [people] with everything that we feel they are guilty of, and in this case, he is guilty of a felony,” said Ashtabula County assistant prosecutor Harold Specht in a statement.
As a condition of his release from jail, he was given an ankle monitor and ordered to remove all weapons from his house. Most curiously of all, he was told to have no further contact with his grandfather, who is dying of cancer.
“The one judge I went in front of told me to remove any firearms from my parents’ house and put them at my grandpa’s house,” said Wiser. “The next judge freaked out about me even knowing what a gun is and put a no contact order against me and my grandparents. My grandfather is dying right now, and I am not allowed within 500 feet of him.”
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.