County school districts use universal weapons policies

Staff reporter

Much concern has been expressed by parents and patrons regarding two weapons incidents at Marion Middle School.

On April 8, a 14-year-old student brought an unloaded handgun to MMS. In February 2007, four students were accused of being involved when one of the four brought a practice hand grenade to the middle school.

What is the school district's policy? Does it differ from other school districts in the county and area?

It was determined that those school districts that are members of Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) have similar if not the exact same policies because KASB provides sample policies to member schools.

The five school districts in Marion County and those in the surrounding area are members of KASB and have similar policies.

Paul Getto is the KASB policy specialist.

"Only one weapons policy meets the requirement of the law which is what we (KASB) use," he said.

The law is K.S.A. 72-89b03 which is the state's School Safety and Security Act.

The act requires school boards to adopt a policy that requires "an immediate report be made to the appropriate state or local law enforcement agency by or on behalf of any school employee who knows or has reason to believe that an act has been committed at school, on school property, or at a school-supervised activity, and that the act involved conduct which constitutes the commission of a felony or misdemeanor or which involves the possession, use, or disposal of explosives, firearms, or other weapons."

KASB recommends a one-year expulsion as penalty for possession of a firearm or other weapons except the superintendent may recommend the expulsion requirement be modified on a case-by-case basis.

KASB also provides a policy where suspension or expulsion can be deferred and the student be placed on probation for a set period of time.

Weapons are described as but not limited to:

— Any item being used as a weapon or destructive device.

— A facsimile of a weapon.

— Any weapon which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

— The frame or receiver of any weapon described as any firearm muffler or firearm silencer.

— Any explosive, incendiary or poison gas, bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more then 1/4 ounce, mine, or similar device.

— Any weapon which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than 1/2 inch in diameter.

— Any bludgeon, sand club, metal knuckles, or throwing star.

— Any knife commonly referred to as a switchblade which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle.

— Any electronic device designed to discharge immobilizing levels of electricity, commonly known as a stun gun.

As with most issues associated with students, school officials are limited in providing specific information about students because of privacy laws.