A high school honors student in Tennessee is paying a major price for something his family says was a simple misunderstanding.
Administrators at Northeast High School suspended David Duren-Sanner, 18, after officials found a knife inside the car he had driven to school last Thursday — a vehicle that belongs to his father, a commercial fisherman.
The fishing knife was discovered during a random search.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System suspended Duren-Sanner for 10 days and plans to send him to an alternative school for 90 days, despite his claim that it was his father’s knife, WTVF-TV reported.
The family plans to appeal the decision at a hearing set for Wednesday; so far the district hasn’t budged in its position.
“He’s been pretty devastated,” Peggy Duren, Duren-Sanner’s grandmother, told TheBlaze Tuesday.
Duren said that when she tried to rationalize with school officials, they didn’t listen. She said she’s stunned about the incident.
“He’s just a good kid,” Duren said. “I was shocked that I got the phone call and I was just devastated. Honestly they couldn’t use common sense?”
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System’s code of conduct bans the possession of knives on school property and lists suspension as one of the consequences for being caught with a weapon.
But Duren says her grandson never knew it was in the car — a place she said it had likely been for months before officials discovered it. The teen’s father has also said the knife wasn’t his son’s.
“The outrage of it, David never, ever, ever had a knife in his possession,” Duren said. “He didn’t know it was there.”
Elise Shelton, chief communications officer for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, declined to comment specifically on the situation, telling TheBlaze in an email, “Information about a student is protected by federal law unless the parent waives the student’s rights to this protection.”
Asked whether the district will be issuing any comment on the matter, Shelton said the Family Education Right to Privacy Act precludes officials from commenting on specific students.
Shelton said any student who violates the code of conduct “receives due process.” She said random searches usually happen annually in the district.
Duren told TheBlaze she would be more than willing to waive her right and let the district to speak, but doesn’t believe officials will do so.
David, who said he wants to be a marine biologist, might end up being home-schooled if the situation is not resolved. His grandmother does not want to send him to an alternative school over fears of bullying from others.
In the meantime, she said the family is open to looking at legal options.
Duren-Sanner is also facing weapons charges with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, according to WTVF.
Featured image via WTVF-TV