Zero-Tolerance Insanity: Bow Leads to Suspension

A rural Minnesota high school football player and wrestling team co-captain who plans a career as a DNR conservation officer is currently serving a 10-day school suspension after he forgot he left a cased hunting bow in his SUV while it was parked in a school lot.

Milaca High School senior Keith Larson said he reported the bow to his first period teacher as soon as he remembered it, but she evidently did not alert school authorities until later that day.

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The teen said he had been shooting the bow at a friend’s house over the weekend and had placed it in the back of his Ford Explorer afterwards. Ironically, during the practice session his friend’s father accidentally ran over the compound bow with an ATV.

“Even if I wanted to do something with it, my bow is bent and doesn’t even shoot right,” Keith told the Mille Lac County Times. “I can’t even hunt with it.”

School Principal Troy Anderson defended Larson’s suspension and the school’s strict, zero-tolerance weapons policy.

“Our kids at Milaca High School should know what the expectations are,” Anderson told WCCO-TV. “In my mind is a bow a weapon? In my mind, it is.”

Larson’s suspension is the second example of school zero-tolerance policies run amok in the past two weeks.

Last week—and also in Minnesota—Blaine High School senior Tony Richard was suspended for 10 days after a school security guard spotted a box cutter inside the teen’s parked car.

Richard’s explanation? He uses the knife to cut up cardboard boxes during his after-school job on the clean-up crew at Cub Foods.

School administrators in Richard’s case initially recommended to the school board that he be expelled. However, thanks to a strong dose of common sense—and a heaping portion of public disdain—the school board over-ruled the administration by a 5-1 vote on Monday, allowing the student to return to classes, albeit on probation until the end of the first quarter.

In the meantime, Larson, who will miss playing in at least two of his senior year football games, believes he did everything he could to comply with his school’s policy by reporting the bow.

Despite the fact that he believes he was treated unfairly, he offered some advice to his fellow student hunters.

“Make sure you check your vehicle, especially anyone who hunts,” he said.