The 16-year-old Pittsburgh hunter who got in big trouble after forgetting a knife was in his pocket at a high school football game will not be expelled.
Philllip P. DiLucente, the attorney for David Schaffner III and his family, told TheBlaze Friday that the Fox Chapel Area School District — which had scheduled a Sept. 27 expulsion hearing for Schaffner — contacted him Wednesday to set up a special meeting.
TheBlaze story ran Wednesday; the special meeting took place Friday.
According to a statement from the school district, during the meeting “a resolution agreeable to both parties was reached. The outcome of the meeting is confidential, but all parties felt that, under Pennsylvania law, the agreement was fair and took all circumstances into account.”
DiLucente tells TheBlaze that Schaffner’s 10-day suspension still stands and “as far as we’re concerned, it’s acceptable.” DiLucente adds that he was heartened by the school district taking a proactive approach to resolving the issue.
DiLucente couldn’t comment on whether Schaffner’s school records will reflect the incident.
Before last Friday’s game, Schaffner was still carrying the pocket knife he’d just used in the woods. “He was cutting branches and whatnot with it,” Schaffner’s father, also named David, told KDKA-TV. “Just forgot he had it in his pocket.”
With no metal detector or bag check at the field for Fox Chapel Area High School, Schaffner could have kept mum without incident. But knowing that knives aren’t allowed on school grounds, he apologized for being forgetful and “intentionally, willfully handed the pocket knife” to a security guard, Schaffner’s father said.
He even voluntarily wrote and signed a statement, saying in part: “I was in the woods behind my house at my tree stand and forgot to take my knife out of my pocket … came to the game and gave it to the security guard.”
All seemed okay and Schaffner headed to the stands. But soon a Fox Chapel principal learned about the knife, found Schaffner, kicked him out of the game, gave him a 10-day suspension, and threatened expulsion.
“It’s out of line and unnecessary,” DiLucente told TheBlaze Wednesday, adding that he’s been on the other end of things, calling for students’ expulsions, but this action is unwarranted.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” he added to KDKA. “I mean, what are we teaching our youth today? To not be honest, to not be open and forthcoming? We are hopeful there will be reconsideration on this particular matter and he [will] be immediately back in school.”
A district spokeswoman said on Wednesday that “when there’s a weapon, we have to follow the law; that is our responsibility to the community and to our students and staff.”
TheBlaze reported on a similar circumstance concerning David “Cole” Withrow, a North Carolina high school student and Eagle Scout, who was suspended and arrested for accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck parked in the school lot in May.
Withrow decided to not keep quiet and attempted to have his mother take the shotgun home, but the school contacted police and Withrow was charged with a felony. Withrow was allowed to graduate on time, but by attending an alternative program — Liberty University extended a scholarship to Withrow upon hearing about his honesty.
Here’s the news segment on Schaffner’s situation before Friday’s resolution: