A student who was reported to have brought a gun look-alike onto school grounds Tuesday actually brought a lighter that was shaped like a gun, according to Richland Two School District officials.
Libby Roof, a district spokeswoman, said the student brought the lighter to the school but because of federal privacy laws protecting student identity and discipline, she could not disclose if the student has been suspended or expelled.
The principal of Richland Northeast High school alerted parents a student was carrying a gun look-alike through the school’s online messaging website Tuesday night. An investigation conducted by the school’s resource officer determined that the student did not have a real weapon.
According to the district’s policy manual, any student who brings a weapon or firearm to school or a school-sponsored activity faces expulsion. The school board bases their definition of a firearm on the definition provided by U.S. Code which says a firearm is “an operable weapon (gun) or destructive device (explosive, incendiary).”
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“It is a felony offense, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for five years, or both, to carry a weapon as referenced above on school property,” the district’s policy said.
“It is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to 90 days, to carry a concealed dirk, slingshot, metal knuckles, razor or other deadly weapons,” the district’s policy also said.
The district’s policy manual also said the period of expulsion is “no less than one year” for a student bringing a firearm on campus.
However, each independent incident of a firearm on campus is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the terms of expulsion may be modified.