School boards can deviate from gun law mandates - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

School boards can deviate from gun law mandates

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Expulsion is a school board policy question that is based on federal and state laws. Expulsion is a school board policy question that is based on federal and state laws.

A student from Arab faces expulsion for leaving a shotgun in his car on campus.

Police responded to the scene last week when it was discovered a student had an unloaded shotgun in his vehicle. 

Prosecutors said while bringing a weapon on campus can be a crime, it isn't always.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham say there are federal laws against people bringing weapons on school campuses.

With no federal juvenile facilities, juveniles are rarely prosecuted.

Officials said there has to be a substantial federal interest and approval from the U.S. Justice Department.

Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall said there are state laws against it also, but those state laws also require evidence the person is there to bring about harm.

"There were no threats made.  No facts demonstrated that he brought the gun there for the purpose of hurting anybody.  What we have is simply possession.  And possession of that shotgun on school premises, in and of itself, is not a violation of state law," said Marshall.

Expulsion is a school board policy question that is based on federal and state laws.

School systems across Alabama may want to review their board policies on bringing weapons to school after a recent case in Arab.

Federal law mandates a year's suspension for students who bring weapons to school, but it also allows states to use some discretion.

Alabama law lets boards deviate from that year-long mandate.

Enterprise is one city that has exemptions in their code, but Arab's superintendent is having to deal with a board policy that failed to leave them any leeway.

"I do believe that he is trying his best to protect the district and at the same time look out for the best interest of this child, and that's what the school board desires, and that's what I as the school board attorney will be helping them do," said Clint Maze, Arab School Board attorney.

Superintendent Dr. John Mullins said the decision on the expulsion will take at least two meetings.  One of those meetings will take place on October 29th. 

There appears to be a lot of support for the young man with harmless intentions. T-shirts have been made in support of the student. Supporters plan to wear them at the next home game and at the board meeting later this month.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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