MOUNT VERNON — Acting on information provided by Knox County Career Center students, administrators at the career center on Thursday searched two specific vehicles on the grounds and apparently discovered a loaded rifle and marijuana in one student’s vehicle.
The .22-caliber rifle was loaded, with a bullet in the chamber, and there were 22 shells found next to the rifle. School officials secured the weapon and Mount Vernon Police officers interviewed the student.
KCCC Director Robert Kirk said the search was conducted because of allegations certain students had purchased prescription medications on school property. Although no prescription medications were found, officials allegedly discovered marijuana in the car that had the rifle.
Kirk said the student has been suspended for 10 days at this time with an administrative hearing to be held this afternoon. At that time, school officials will identify to the student [and the student’s parents] what was alleged and what was found, and the student will be able to respond to the allegations. The administrators will then forward recommendations for action to Superintendent Bernie Pachmayer for review.
Pachmayer said the individual has not been expelled at this time. “We have to follow due process rules,” she said. “There has been no decision made whether they will be expelled or not. That comes only after a meeting with the superintendent, the parents and the child. Typically, a student is suspended for 10 days following an infraction. The parents are notified there could be a pending expulsion. They have 10 days to appeal the suspension, then we call them in for what we call the expulsion hearing. It’s during the expulsion hearing that we determine whether the student will be expelled or not. The parent also has the right to appeal the expulsion.”
Kirk said the person who has allegedly been selling prescription medications in the building has admitted to school officials that she has indeed been selling prescription drugs. Appropriate action will be taken, he said, with the standard disciplinary procedures being followed.
“In the 12 years I’ve been here, I believe we’ve only had one other case where a gun was found on our property,” Kirk said. “Student surveys consistently say we have a very safe school environment, and we are blessed because the students work to help keep it that way by coming forward. They do seek individuals out to report things that should not be happening. It takes a lot of courage on those individuals’ part.”
It has yet to be confirmed if any criminal charges will result from the gun possession or drug sales.