The family of a Northwestern High School student who was expelled for a pocket knife left in the bed of his truck is celebrating a victory.
The Rock Hill school district expelled Eric Chandler Helms, 16, in January after officials found a pocket knife in the bed of his pickup truck that was parked at the school, said his mother Tabatha Pruitt.
The Rock Hill school board lifted the expulsion at its Feb. 27 meeting, according to an online petition started by the family.
Jim Vining, chair of the school board, said board members cannot comment on student matters.
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Pruitt said the high school called and told her that a knife was found in her son’s car.
Pruitt said her son is an avid hunter and fisherman, and that he had accidentally left the knife in his car, which was parked on the school’s campus.
The school district has a policy against weapons on school grounds, said Mychal Frost, spokesperson for Rock Hill schools.
“It is our policy to ensure the safety and welfare of students and employees,” he said. “The presence of a knife with a blade length of more than 2 inches on school district property poses a severe threat of serious harm or injury to students and staff. No vehicles parked on school property may contain knives or other items which are generally considered to be weapons. Students found in violation of this policy are recommended for expulsion and have a right to appeal the district's decision.”
The family did appeal the expulsion and started the petition, which garnered nearly 4,000 signatures. The petition states the expulsion was overturned by a 6-1 vote.
“That’s a landslide victory for us,” a commenter on the petition wrote.