Teen's Expulsion for Off-Campus Guns Overturned

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

Gary Tudesko and his mother, Susan Parisio, smile after Glenn County Board of Education members overturned his suspension. Credit: Sacramento Bee / ZUMApress

A California high school student expelled for having two shotguns in his truck -- which was parked off-campus -- is back at school this week after officials overturned the teen's punishment.

Gary Tudesko, 17, and a friend went duck hunting before school started on Oct. 26. In a rush to get to school on time, he parked the truck on a public street, which he believed did not violate Willows High School policy. According to the Sacramento Bee, gun-sniffing dogs discovered two unloaded shotguns in his truck later that day.

Willows High School administrators suspended Tudesko, who hadn't been to school since Nov. 19. The family appealed to the Glenn County Board of Education, which overturned the school's decision on Jan. 22. Both the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association provided support and legal assistance to the family during the appeal.
Tudesko was represented by National Rifle Association/California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation attorneys Chuck Michel and Hillary J. Green of the Long Beach-based law firm Michel & Associates, P.C., according to an NRA statement about the case.

"This is a victory for law-abiding young Americans, over nonsensical, irrational and unreasonable policies," says Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA, in the statement. "Mr. Tudesko broke no laws and we are pleased that the board of education has cleared his name and allowed him to complete his education at Willows High School."

Board President Judy Holzapfel read from a written version of the board's decision. The statement asserts that, in expelling Tudesko, the Willows Unified School District reached beyond its jurisdiction and acted based on activity "that did not occur on school grounds or at a school activity off of school grounds," according to the Bee.

The student tells the paper he is excited to return to school "as soon as possible." He adds that he needs to "grow up and take advantage of school."

The school contends that the board should have taken Tudesko's disciplinary record into account when considering whether or not to overturn the expulsion. According to the Bee, he has two dozen prior incidents in his file. Tudesko, however, says that any of his previous run-ins with the school have no bearing on the case.

"I think that's really the only thing they had on me," Tudesko tells the newspaper. "They couldn't get me for the guns"

Should off-campus actions be subject to school rules or did the district overstep its boundaries?

Related: Soccer Player Suspended for Being Crazy

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.