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Outrage of the Week!

Friday, November 16, 2007

This week’s outrage comes from Smithville, Missouri, where hunter and high school senior Steven Weeks was suspended for leaving his unloaded .22 rifle in his locked pickup truck while attending a Smithville High football game.

In yet another case of inflexible allegiance to “zero-tolerance” enforcement defying common sense, a recent www.kmbc.com/ article detailed the student’s plight, which began with a hunting trip and ended with a night in jail. 

On the afternoon of November 1, Steven headed into the woods with his rifle after school.  “I decided I was going to go hunting before the football game, so I came home grabbed my .22 and an extra box of shells,” he told KMBC’s Dan Weinbaum.

After his hunt, Steven returned home for dinner before heading back out to the football game.  Unfortunately, he forgot to remove his rifle and left it—unloaded—on the seat of his truck.  He also inadvertently locked his keys inside, thus precluding him from being able to access and remove the gun.  “I made the mistake of locking my keys in there, and that's when everything started getting bad,” Steven said.

A passerby noticed the rifle and notified police.  Steven was subsequently arrested and forced to spend the night in jail.  Originally faced with the potential of 180 days suspension, expulsion, or not being allowed to graduate with his class, www.kmbc.com/  reported yesterday the school meted out a punishment of 20 days suspension and disallowing Stevens from driving a vehicle onto school property.  Stevens can graduate with his class so long as he keeps his grades up.  “The point of the matter is the boy made an honest mistake, a bad decision, did not get the gun out of the truck,” said Ron Wilmes, Steven’s father.

So, once again we have a case where, in their zeal to enforce “zero-tolerance” rules, administrators have thrown common sense out of the window.  A high school senior, who mistakenly left his unloaded hunting rifle in his truck (along with the keys) while attending a football game, and who threatened no one, was jailed and suspended. 

That’s outrageous.

If you see something that you feel would be a good candidate for the “Outrage of the Week!” section, please send it to:  [email protected].  Please be sure to send additional background and citations where available.

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