Some students, apparently on their way to a well-known smoking spot next to the parking lot, spotted the fake rifles through the back window of Miss Morrow’s Dodge Durango and contacted school authorities.
Miss Morrow said she was initially told that the rifles would be placed in a police security van and that she could pick them up after school, but then she received a note telling her to go to the dean’s office.
The dean and assistant principal told her that she would be expelled instead.
“They said they didn’t want to do this, but it’s the law and they have to follow it,” Miss Morrow said on “The Peter Boyles Show,” a Denver morning talk show that has championed her cause.
Callers to the show said the students who turned her in received as a reward coupons to Chik-Fil-A fast-food restaurant, a report Miss Morrow confirmed.
“That’s the insanity of this - she’s a student leader, a smart kid … then they give the snitches Chik-Fil-A,” Mr. Boyles said.
Even if the expulsion is limited to time served, Miss Morrow’s supporters fear that the episode could come back to haunt her in her adult life. She has secured the recommendation from a member of Congress necessary to attend the Merchant Marine Academy.
Cherry Creek Schools spokeswoman Tustin Amole said students’ records are destroyed after they graduate, and that there would be nothing in the district files to link Miss Morrow to the incident.
In an editorial this week, the Rocky Mountain News said the law needed more flexibility.
“The law should not be so rigid that it forces schools to expel any student who belongs to a military organization, a drum-and-bugle corps or any other legitimate extracurricular group and is simply transporting what amounts to harmless props,” the editorial said.
Mr. Lane blamed Miss Morrow’s plight on the “zero-tolerance” policy toward weapons, even fake ones, that has been adopted by many states and school districts.
“I hope the legislature decides that people in authority at schools are allowed to use their brains from now on,” Mr. Lane said. ” ‘Zero tolerance’ is a code word for ‘No Brains Allowed.’ ”
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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