501 SCHOOL WEAPONS POLICY
[Note: School districts are required by statute to have a policy addressing these issues. ATTENTION: This policy incorporates certain provisions of the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act (often referred to as the “conceal and carry” law).]
The purpose of this policy is to assure a safe school environment for students, staff and the public.
II. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY
No student or non-student, including adults and visitors, shall possess, use or distribute a weapon when in a school location except as provided in this policy. The school district will act to enforce this policy and to discipline or take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, school employee, volunteer, or member of the public who violates this policy.
- A “weapon” means any object, device or instrument designed as a weapon or through its use is capable of threatening or producing bodily harm or which may be used to inflict self-injury including, but not limited to, any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; airguns; pellet guns; BB guns; all knives; blades; clubs; metal knuckles; numchucks; throwing stars; explosives; fireworks; mace and other propellants; stunguns; ammunition; poisons; chains; arrows; and objects that have been modified to serve as a weapon.
- No person shall possess, use or distribute any object, device or instrument having the appearance of a weapon and such objects, devices or instruments shall be treated as weapons including, but not limited to, weapons listed above which are broken or non-functional, look-alike guns; toy guns; and any object that is a facsimile of a real weapon.
- No person shall use articles designed for other purposes (i.e., lasers or laser pointers, belts, combs, pencils, files, scissors, etc.), to inflict bodily harm and/or intimidate and such use will be treated as the possession and use of a weapon.
B. “School Location” includes any school building or grounds, whether leased, rented, owned or controlled by the school, locations of school activities or trips, bus stops, school buses or school vehicles, school-contracted vehicles, the area of entrance or departure from school premises or events, all locations where school-related functions are conducted, and anywhere students are under the jurisdiction of the school district.
C. “Possession” means having a weapon on one’s person or in an area subject to one’s control in a school location.
A. A student who finds a weapon on the way to school or in a school location, or a student who discovers that he or she accidentally has a weapon in his or her possession, and takes the weapon immediately to the principal’s office shall not be considered to possess a weapon. If it would be impractical or dangerous to take the weapon to the principal’s office, a student shall not be considered to possess a weapon if he or she immediately turns the weapon over to an administrator, teacher or head coach or immediately notifies an administrator, teacher or head coach of the weapon’s location.
B. It shall not be a violation of this policy if a non-student (or student where specified) falls within one of the following categories:
- active licensed peace officers;
- military personnel, or students or nonstudents participating in military training, who are on duty performing official duties;
- Persons authorized to carry a pistol under Minn. Stat. § 624.714 while in a motor vehicle or outside of a motor vehicle for the purpose of directly placing a firearm in, or retrieving it from, the trunk or rear area of the vehicle;
persons who keep or store in a motor vehicle pistols in accordance with Minn. Stat. §§ 624.714 or 624.715 or other firearms in accordance with § 97B.045;
a. Section 624.714 specifies procedures and standards for obtaining pistol permits and penalties for the failure to do so. Section 624.715 defines an exception to the pistol permit requirements for “antique firearms which are carried or possessed as curiosities or for their historical significance or value.”
b. Section 97B.045 generally provides that a firearm may not be transported in a motor vehicle unless it is (1) unloaded and in a gun case without any portion of the firearm exposed; (2) unloaded and in the closed trunk; or (3) a handgun carried in compliance with §§ 624.714 and 624.715.
1. firearm safety or marksmanship courses or activities for students or non-students conducted on school property;
2. possession of dangerous weapons, BB guns, or replica firearms by a ceremonial color guard;
3. a gun or knife show held on school property;
4. possession of dangerous weapons, BB guns, or replica firearms with written permission of the principal or other person having general control and supervision of the school or the director of a child care center; or
5. persons who are on unimproved property owned or leased by a child care center, school or school district unless the person knows that a student is currently present on the land for a school-related activity.
6. Persons must have written permission from the Executive Director as well as a principal for someone to possess a dangerous weapon in a school location
[Note: Nothing prevents a school district from being more stringent in its weapons policy with respect to students and school district employees than the criminal law, except that the school district may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area. Although some school districts may choose to incorporate all of the exceptions to the criminal law, other school districts may choose either not to incorporate some or all of the exceptions or to further limit them. For example, a school district may choose to require written permission from the superintendent, not just a principal, for someone to possess a dangerous weapon in a school location. This would impose a more stringent requirement than exception (7) to Section 609.66, Subdivision 1d. However, a school district may not regulate firearms, ammunition, or their respective components, when possessed or carried by nonstudents or nonemployees, in a manner that is inconsistent with Section 609.66, Subdivision 1d.]
C. Policy Application to Instructional Equipment/Tools
While the school district does not allow the possession, use, or distribution of weapons by students or nonstudents, such a position is not meant to interfere with instruction or the use of appropriate equipment and tools by students or nonstudents. Such equipment and tools, when properly possessed, used, and stored, shall not be considered in violation of the rule against the possession, use, or distribution of weapons. However, when authorized instructional and work equipment and tools are used in a potentially dangerous or threatening manner, such possession and use will be treated as the possession and use of a weapon.
D. Firearms in School Parking Lots and Parking Facilities
A school district may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a school parking lot or parking facility. For purposes of this policy, the “lawful” carry or possession of a firearm in a school parking lot or parking facility is specifically limited to nonstudent permit-holders authorized under Minn. Stat. § 624.714 to carry a pistol in the interior of a vehicle or outside the motor vehicle for the purpose of directly placing a firearm in, or retrieving it from, the trunk or rear area of the vehicle. Any possession or carry of a firearm beyond the immediate vicinity of a permit-holder’s vehicle shall constitute a violation of this policy.
V. CONSEQUENCES FOR STUDENT WEAPON POSSESSION/USE/ DISTRIBUTION
A. The school district does not allow the possession, use, or distribution of weapons by students. Consequently, the minimum consequence for students possessing, using, or distributing weapons shall include:
- immediate out-of-school suspension;
- confiscation of the weapon;
- immediate notification of police;
- parent or guardian notification; and
- recommendation to the superintendent of dismissal for a period of time not to exceed one year.
B. Pursuant to Minnesota law, a student who brings a firearm, as defined by federal law, to school will be expelled for at least one year. The school board may modify this requirement on a case-by-case basis.
C. Administrative Discretion
While the school district does not allow the possession, use, or distribution of weapons by students, the superintendent may use discretion in determining whether, under the circumstances, a course of action other than the minimum consequences specified above is warranted. If so, other appropriate action may be taken, including consideration of a recommendation for lesser discipline.
VI. CONSEQUENCES FOR WEAPON POSSESSION/USE/DISTRIBUTION BY NONSTUDENTS
- An employee who violates the terms of this policy is subject to disciplinary action, including nonrenewal, suspension, or discharge as deemed appropriate by the school board.
- Sanctions against employees, including nonrenewal, suspension, or discharge shall be pursuant to and in accordance with applicable statutory authority, collective bargaining agreements, and school district policies.
- When an employee violates the weapons policy, law enforcement may be notified, as appropriate.
[Note: An employer may establish policies that restrict the carry or possession of firearms by its employees while acting in the course and scope of employment. Employment-related sanctions may be invoked for a violation. Thus, for example, reasonable limitations may be imposed on the method of storing firearms by permit-holding employees while at work or performing employment-related duties. Reasonable limitations may include requiring firearms to have trigger locks and to be stored in a locked container or locked compartment of the vehicle.]
B. Other Non-students
- Any member of the public who violates this policy shall be informed of the policy and asked to leave the school location. Depending on the circumstances, the person may be barred from future entry to school locations. In addition, if the person is a student in another school district, that school district may be contacted concerning the policy violation.
- If appropriate, law enforcement will be notified of the policy violation by the member of the public and may be asked to provide an escort to remove the member of the public from the school location.
Legal References: Minn. Stat. § 97B.045 (Transportation of Firearms)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.05 (Referral to Police)
Minn. Stat. §§ 121A.40-121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.44 (Expulsion for Possession of Firearm)
Minn. Stat. § 609.02, Subd. 6 (Definition of Dangerous Weapon)
Minn. Stat. § 609.605 (Trespass)
Minn. Stat. § 609.66 (Dangerous Weapons)
Minn. Stat. § 624.714 (Carrying of Weapons without Permit; Penalties)
Minn. Stat. § 624.715 (Exemptions; Antiques and Ornaments)
18 U.S.C. § 921 (Definition of Firearm)
In re C.R.M. 611 N.W.2d 802 (Minn. 2000)
Cross References: MSBA/MASA Model Policy 403 (Discipline, Suspension, and Dismissal of School District Employees)
MSBA/MASA Model Policy 506 (Student Discipline)
MSBA/MASA Model Policy 525 (Violence Prevention)