Jordan Wiser, 18, was arrested after school officials in Jefferson, Ohio, found a pocket knife in his car. The incident could cost him his dream of joining the Army. (JBWPHOTOGRAPHY)
An Ohio high school student has already been jailed and kicked out of school for having a pocket knife in his car, and now he fears he could lose his dream of serving in the Army.
Jordan Wiser, a student at Ashtabula County Technical School in Jefferson, is finishing up his senior year from home after school officials searched his car in December and found the folding knife and an Airsoft gun. School officials called police, who charged him with illegal conveyance of a weapon onto a school ground based on the three-inch knife.
“I declined to allow them to search myself or my car and that I wanted to talk to my lawyer or my father,” Wiser told FoxNews.com. “They told me it wasn’t an option.”
Wiser, an EMT trainee who hopes to become both a police officer and a soldier, spent 13 days in the Ashtabula County Jail following the incident. The knife, which Wiser said is part of his first responder’s kit and can be used for slicing an accident victim’s seatbelt, was found tucked inside his EMT medical vest in the trunk of the car. The Airsoft gun, which fires non-lethal pellets, was not illegal and was used by Wiser in a shooting club he belongs to, he said.
School officials told FoxNews.com that possession of the pocket knife was a violation of the school’s zero tolerance policy for bringing weapons on campus and that based on a message he posted on an online forum, they had probable cause to search Wiser and his car. They also insisted Wiser consented to the search.
“When we asked, he had said, ‘okay,'” school Superintendent Jerome Brockway said.
Brockway said the district is obliged to motion for expulsion once a student is found with banned items on campus, and said the student handbook states that officials have the right to search a student and his or her vehicle if they have probable cause.
“We indicate that we have the right to search, and he was aware of the policy,” he said, adding that the decision to pursue criminal charges was left to police and prosecutors.
Wiser has a court hearing on April 1. He is hoping for a favorable disposition to put his career plans back on track. He has been kicked out of the Army’s Future Soldier Training System program, and his plans to enlist in August are now in jeopardy. He says he is seriously considering filing a lawsuit.
“It is definitely an option,” said Wiser, who must enroll in a special online program to complete his education.