Wednesday, October 13, 2004

PINE BUSH, N.Y. (AP) — A student who took part in a Civil War re-enactment was arrested and could get expelled after a replica musket was found in his car at school.

Joshua Phelps, 17, left the gun, a bayonet, rolled cartridges with black powder and a Union soldier’s uniform in the car after participating in the weekend re-enactment. He was called to the assistant principal’s office Tuesday after a security guard spotted the weapon in the Pine Bush Senior High School parking lot.

“I actually thought it was kind of stupid, at first, when I heard it was about the musket,” Mr. Phelps said. “I didn’t think I’d get arrested over it.”

Crawford town police confiscated the musket, handcuffed Mr. Phelps and charged him with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Crawford Police Chief Daniel McCann said the replica, which fires blanks, could have been used to fire a projectile.

“I know this might appear to be a minor thing, but it’s not,” Chief McCann said. “The musket was found in his car on the high school grounds and could have been used.”

Mr. Phelps, a member of the school’s Civil War Club, also was suspended from school for five days.

His mother, Valerie Michaels, said the district overreacted.

“There are bigger problems at that high school than this. It just doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

Pine Bush Central Schools Superintendent RoseMarie Stark did not immediately return a call for comment. Pine Bush is about 70 miles north of New York City.

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