October 28. 2013 12:52AM

Salem approves automatic expulsion for students who bring gun to school

Union Leader Correspondent

SALEM — The School Board has unanimously approved a weapons policy that calls for the automatic expulsion of any student who brings a gun onto school property.

Students who bring weapons other than guns onto school property are automatically suspended with an investigation to follow.

The policy also considers any school-sponsored event as being on school property, even off-site activities, which was the only point of contention for board members.

According to Superintendent Michael Delahanty, the policy is consistent with national regulations that consider any event sponsored and sanctioned by a school as taking place on school property.

At the initial reading of the policy earlier in October, School Board member Michael Carney said he had concerns about the legality of having the weapons policy cover off-site activities.

Carney cited the possibility that a student who is properly licensed to carry a firearm could be on private property but would be subject to the consequences of the property.

"We looked at the U.S. code that is referenced, and the term school means any setting under the control and supervision of the local education agency for the purpose of a school activity," said Delahanty. "So if we are off-site, but it is a school-sponsored activity, that becomes a safe school zone and all the rules and regulations apply."

Carney said he still had some issues with the policy.

"I understand the explanation, but still have a hard time rationalizing how we can go on private property that is open to the public and say no one can bring a gun (if it is legally licensed)," said Carney.

Delahanty said the policy applies only to students.

"It doesn't suggest that there is a consequence for anyone other than a student carrying a weapon onto school property," said Delahanty.

Carney voted for the policy but said there could still be a potential legal issues.aswift@newstote.com