Community members from Escondido, California, are demanding a school district lift the suspension of an honor roll student after the school found a knife in his family’s car on Jan. 27.
San Pasqual High School suspended junior Sam Serrato after drug-sniffing dogs discovered a 3-inch hunting knife in the vehicle he had been driving, KFMB reports.
The move is a part of the school’s zero-tolerance policy. Students may not have any type of weapon on campus for any reason, including any blade longer than 2 1/2 inches.
He is now facing expulsion, even though his father admitted the knife was his.
"I have no explanation to him and that is what makes it so hard," his father told KFMB, trying to fight back tears.
"He does not deserve this for a mistake that we made. It wasn't his fault," added Yvonne Serrato, Sam's mother, KSWB reports.
Hundreds of people turned up at the Escondido Union High School District board meeting Feb. 9, but the school refused to lift the suspension and possibility of expulsion.
“This has been very disheartening,” said Amy Cappelletti, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. “He’s the most patriotic student. He never gets into trouble. These weren’t Crocodile Dundee knives.”
The district refused to comment, only stating that “providing for the education of all students in a safe environment is a top priority.”
So far the district’s superintendent said it will try to hold the expulsion hearing at an earlier date than the original Feb. 25.
"This is not my fault. It's not something I intentionally did. I don't understand why they have to do this whole process,” said Sam. He later added he is afraid, stating that “Sometimes I can’t sleep and I wake up in the middle of the night.”
"I feel like there is hope, but I honestly feel like they could move it faster. I feel like that is what they should do," he added.
Meanwhile another student -- who will soon be joining the Marines -- is facing expulsion for having a knife in his truck he was using to prepare fishing tackle.
The board said it will try to accelerate the expulsion hearing for him as well.