Some offenses are an automatic out — the “big five,” Modesto City Schools administrators called them, dictated by state Education Code and listed in the Student Conduct Code:
• Possessing or furnishing a firearm (Airsoft guns considered firearms in this district)
• Brandishing a knife at a person
• Selling drugs
• Sexual assault
• Possession of explosives (not fireworks)
“Those are the kids you can’t have on your campus,” said Thor Harrison, director of education services grades 7-12.
“It’s very rare, very rare, that a gun shows up at a school,” said Modesto police Sgt. Jason Grogan, who supervises Modesto City Schools’ four campus officers. He said the one incident his officers recalled from last year involved a replica, an Airsoft gun, that the district categorized as a firearm. Regardless of their error, never bring Airsoft guns to school!
“Primarily, it’s knives,” said Grogan. He said there were also several criminal cases where baseball bats were considered weapons in recent years.
Knife sightings are partly a reflection of this area’s agricultural setting, Harrison said. Some students use them routinely on the farm and don’t think of them as weapons.
“They forget … I can’t have this tool at school,” Harrison said.