Law Office of Michelle Ball Ed 48900s,school discipline,weapons Students Can Possess Knives, Guns Explosives and Dangerous Objects?

Students Can Possess Knives, Guns Explosives and Dangerous Objects?


Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

What will happen to a student if they have a gun, knife, explosive, or dangerous object on campus without permission?  We all know the usual answer, but according to the California legislature, it will depend on whether the student has permission to possess the item.

Under California Education Code section 48900(b), students may be suspended or placed up for expulsion if they:

“Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of an object of this type, the pupil had obtained written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal.”

So, if a student has a gun, sells a gun, or provides a gun to someone, he can be suspended or expelled.  Same difference with a knife or explosive, which seems fairly self-explanatory.

With the “dangerous object” portion, schools may interpret “dangerous object” as covering practically anything, rightly or wrongly.  For example, a pencil, scissors, stick, book, pillow, spit, urine, chemicals, and on and on, depending on how the object were used.  As such, this code section can sometimes be stretched, properly or improperly, to attempt to meet the situation.  A parent would of course argue a pillow, book, or other common object was never a dangerous object and the intent was to cover obviously dangerous objects (nunchucks, throwing stars, etc.).

Section 48900(b) provides an interesting exception which could avoid a suspension: permission to possess a gun, knife, explosive or dangerous object (this is too good to be true!).  But, how any student would ever get “permission” to possess a firearm, knife, explosive or “dangerous object,” is beyond me.  I would suggest that any student who actually had the nerve to seek permission to bring one of these items on campus, would be interrogated and searched by today’s school administrators.  This would not be okay, but they would probably take such a request the wrong way and go after the student regardless of what the code says.

Obviously when this code was written many years ago, the legislature thought this might be possible.  The only scenario I can think of is for some kind of school play, or an authorized in-class demonstration (show and tell).  If “permission” is sought, make sure it is granted in writing and the principal signs off as well as the teacher granting the permission, or the kid could be toast regardless of the situation.