MN high court to rule on expulsion of student for having knife in locker


Minnesota's Supreme Court will take up a case that examines a school district's "zero tolerance" policy banning weapons on school grounds. The case involves a high school honor student who challenged her expulsion after inadvertently bringing a knife to school.

Alyssa Drescher was expelled from United South Central in Wells in April 2014, for the remainder of her junior year, after officials found a knife in her locker during a random schoolwide search. The school board ruled she violated the district's policy, which outlaws weapons of any kind at school.

Drescher's family maintained she had forgotten to take the three-inch pocket knife out of her purse after using it to cut hay bales at her boyfriend’s farm a few days before.

Drescher and her family appealed the expulsion and in July the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in her favor. The judges said the school board didn’t find that she “willfully” violated school policy when she brought the knife to school, and that she didn’t “willfully” engage in conduct that endangered herself or others.

But the district appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, saying the ruling undermines the ability of schools to keep weapons out. The high court agreed last week to take up the case, the Associated Press reports.

"The [Appeals Court's] decision sets a dangerous precedent that limits the ability of school districts across the state to proactively address the presence of weapons on school property,” the school board said, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.

The Minnesota School Boards Association is joining the appeal, noting the outcome of the case could affect every school district in Minnesota.

Drescher's expulsion sparked outrage in the community and nationwide, and prompted lawmakers to show their support for the student.

Drescher graduated from United South Central this spring and is attending Minnesota State University in Mankato, the Albert Lea Tribune reports.

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