Student's pellet gun confiscated after overheard comment
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#1 Jan 16, 2012
Based on the vague information available in this article, this is overreach on the part of the authorities involved (e.g. the BPD, the BISD police, the school district and high school administration).
There was no imminent danger to students or other persons, and there is no indication that the student intended (credibly) to bring the pellet gun to the high school, and it is not illegal to own and responsibly use (e.g. clearly indicating with an orange tip band that the firearm in question is an airgun or pellet gun) a pellet gun in one's home and on one's property.
While I understand and sympathize with the objective to exercise greater "vigilance" by the police and school district authorities and that that leads them to interpret what they did as taking preventive measures, we, as a community and society, must remind these public servants that they must operate, though frustratingly difficult as it may sometimes be, within the boundaries of a rule of law established by (U.S. and Texas) constitutional law and judicial precedents.
I would also be concerned about ignorant judges and legal counsel consenting or condoning these measures given the absense of probable cause to conduct such (softly coerced) searches of and seizures in residents' homes. In our collective desire optimize public safety, particularly in our public schools, we must be wary of illiberal censorship and unconstitutional actions by our public servants (e.g. law enforcement, judges, district attorneys, teachers, school administrators).
After the unfortunate, sad accident at Cummings Middle School, we should not unfairly blame law enforcement or curtail their discretion, but we should also not empower or encourage them to blatantly curtail our civil liberties, belonging to students and non-students.
#2 Jan 23, 2012
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