Boise School District suspended a student for carrying a gun even though he wasn't on campus at the time and broke no laws while doing so

May 14th

If I were in charge of the Boise School District, I'd be lawyering up right about now:

The Boise School District suspended 18-year-old Boise High School senior Daniel Dougherty for four days after causing a disturbance that led to a school-wide shelter in place, according to the Dougherty's family.

The Boise Police Department (BPD) responded to a call on May 5 regarding a student near campus with a gun, BPD Public Information Officer Haley Williams said. BPD instructed Boise High to shelter in place. Police quickly found the student in question, Dougherty, upon his return to campus from lunch.

Oh, no. Was Daniel Dougherty acting erratically? Was he threatening to shoot up campus? Was he in unlawful possession of the gun?

Well, no. None of those things. He was apparently walking to a nearby gas station from his truck and was carrying the gun with him at the time because his truck wouldn't lock. That's all. That's basic gun safety: Don't leave your gun unsecured.

He was eventually able to fix his truck's lock and return the gun to it:

Dougherty showed police to his truck, parked off-campus near the corner of North 14th Street and West State Street, where his handgun was locked away. There was no evidence of a threat or that Dougherty broke any laws, according to Williams.

The district originally suspended Dougherty for nine days and barred him from walking at graduation, according to his mother Jessica Dougherty. The district later reduced Daniel's punishment and will allow him to walk in the graduation ceremony.

That's so generous of them! I'm sure Daniel Dougherty is immensely grateful.

So what was their rationale for suspending the young man even though he apparently did literally nothing wrong?

Daniel parked his car, "in a parking space near the school, in an area that is considered to be a part of school campus by the School Handbook (page 13)," according to an email from Boise High School Principal Robb Thompson to parents on May 5.

Ooh okay, so it's not part of the campus but it's "considered to be." Makes sense. But wait:

The area between the west side of 8th St. and the east side of 14th St. are considered on-campus, according to the School Handbook. Daniel parks his car in a lot behind Fanci Freeze, located on the west side of 14th St.

This lot is not on-campus by the School Handbook's definition.

I'm not saying there's going to be a lawsuit. But like I said: I'd be lawyering up if I were these folks.

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