NRA & CRPA Assists Student’s Appeal of Expulsion for Legal ShotGun Possession
National Rifle Association and California rifle & pistol association assisting duck hunting high school student with appeal of expulsion for having unloaded shotguns in off-campus truck.
Willows, CA –-(AmmoLand.com)-The NRA and the CRPA Foundation have joined forces under their California Legal Action Project (LAP) to provide legal assistance for high school student Gary Tudesko in his fight to be readmitted to Willows High School. Sixteen-year-old Tudesko was expelled on November 19th for having unloaded shotguns in his pick-up truck that he legally parked on an off-campus, public street near the Willows High School campus. The high school is in a small rural community near Sacramento. The unloaded shotguns were in his truck because he had gone duck hunting in the early morning hours before school. The case has garnered significant national media coverage as an example of zero-tolerance policies run amuck.
The shotguns were discovered in the pick up truck by scent-sniffing dogs on October 26th during a questionable school search. Police ran the license plates and determined Tudesko was the owner, then called Tudesko out of class. Tudesko readily told the Principal about the shotguns and his early morning hunting trip.
The school first suspended Tudesko for five days, then extended the suspension indefinitely until an expulsion hearing was held. Tudesko’s mother, Susan Parisio defended her son during the November 19th public hearing on his expulsion. She challenged the school district’s legal jurisdiction to enforce the Education Code’s prohibition of guns on campus for her son having unloaded shotguns locked in an off-campus vehicle parked on a public street. Nonetheless, Willows High Principal Mort Geivett told the local School Board that, as a matter of law, it had no choice but to expel Tudesko. The Board did just that.
Geivett claimed the school had jurisdiction over students traveling to and from school, as well as students off-campus during lunch, and that the school had jurisdiction over off campus vehicles because students could not possess firearms within 1000 feet of campus. But Geivett confused the Penal Code with the Education Code. With a number of exceptions, it is a potential criminal violation of the Penal Code, specifically the Gun Free School Zones law, to knowingly possess a gun within 1000 feet of a school. But that law has nothing to do with the section of the Education Code Tudesko is charged with violating, which generally prohibits possession of firearms on school grounds. Tudesko’s truck was parked off school grounds. And Gary was not traveling to or from school at the time of the search of the off-campus truck. He was in class. Moreover, schools do not enforce criminal/penal statutes like the Gun Free School Zones law, the District Attorney does. And the District Attorney and Willows Chief of Police have already stated there would be no charges filed against Tudesko, likely because there was no intent to violate the law.
Tudesko is now appealing the local school district’s expulsion order to the Glenn County Board of Education. A hearing is scheduled for January 15, 2010 at 10 a.m. at the Willows Administration Building located at 311 S. Villa Ave, Willows, CA 95988. Tudesko is now being defended by civil rights lawyers Chuck Michel and Hillary Green of the Long Beach law firm of Michel & Associates (www.michelandassociates.com).
Legal issues aside, Tudesko is in this position because of a short-sighted bureaucratic approach to enforcing the school’s “zero tolerance” policy toward firearms. Time and again these policies have resulted in a triumph of irrational political correctness over common sense and justice. Given that Tudesko had gone duck hunting that same morning with friends (hence the two shot-guns), had bird-shot loads for ammunition, had intentionally parked off campus to avoid any issues, and had several friends corroborate his story, school administrators should have acknowledged that the circumstances didn’t warrant discipline, never mind expulsion.
Information about Gary, media coverage, copies of legal submissions, and other documents are being posted at www.calgunlaws.com.
Although the attorneys are largely working pro bono, even so there are significant costs and other fees associated with this type of defense. Donations to the CRPA Foundation/NRA LAP are appreciated.
If you can help fund Gary’s defense and other LAP efforts, please visit www.crpa.org and make a tax deductible donation to the CRPA Foundation. The NRA/CRPA Legal Action Project is a joint venture between the NRA and CRPA Foundation to advance the rights of firearms owners in California. Through LAP, NRA/CRPA attorneys litigate to fight against ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, assist individuals like Gary, and educate state and local officials about the programs at their disposal that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED:
Gary Tudesko needs your help and support. Please attend the hearing if possible, and at the very least—contact the Glenn County Board of Education on Gary’s behalf.
We ask that you please contact the members of the Glenn County Board of Education and voice your opposition to the expulsion of Gary Tudesko. Note: You can send a single email to the Glenn County Board of Education by using the special “ONE CLICK” email address that you can find HERE. By sending one email to the special “ONE CLICK” address, each member of the Glenn County Board of Education will receive a copy of your message.
The Glenn County Board of Education can be reached by telephone also at: (530) 934-6575 or by Fax at (530) 934-6111.
If you live in the Willows Area, The NRA and CRPA urges you to attend the meeting at the Willows Administration Building located at 311 S. Villa Ave, Willows, CA 95988 at 10:00 a.m. on January 15, 2010. Please dress appropriately and act respectfully, but remain firm in your opposition to the expulsion of Gary Tudesko.
IMPORTANT FACT: When contacting the members of the Glenn County Board of Education, please remember that these were NOT the people that expelled him in the first place. Rather, these are the ones that hold Gary’s fate in their hands. So please be courteous in your comments. These members of the Glenn County Board of Education have the authority to overrule the previous ruling (made by another school board) so that Gary Tudesko can be allowed to return to school. Please be polite with your requests.
Remember: Even if you don’t live in Glenn County, your help is needed to defend this young man’s right to an education. Please call, fax, and email the Glenn County Board of Education and/or attend the Board of Education Meeting on January 15, 2010 and voice your opposition to expelling this young man! And tell your neighbors to do the same.
The California Rifle and Pistol Association “CRPA,” founded in 1875, is dedicated to defending the rights of law-abiding citizens to responsibly use firearms for self-defense and the defense of their loved ones, for sport, and for all other legal activities. CRPA is the official state association of the National Rifle Association. A California non-profit association, CRPA is independently directed by its own Board of Directors. CRPA’s 65,000 members include law enforcement officers, prosecutors, professionals, firearm experts, the general public, and loving parents. CRPA has always worked to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms and firearms accidents, while actively promoting and organizing the competitive shooting sports and Olympic training programs in California. We are proud to say that many CRPA competitors are among the best in the world.