November 28, 2020

Florida high school student suspended for disarming gunman

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13639248001_2203533940001_9E0B439081CF4D8CABCC218FD9382DCFWritten by Alex Newman The New American

A Florida teenager was suspended from his high school last week along with two others after forcibly disarming a fellow student who allegedly pointed a loaded gun and threatened to shoot another pupil on a school bus, according to news reports. One of the suspended students, who has not been publicly identified due to safety concerns, said he had “no doubt” that the gunman he helped disarm was planning to kill the intended target.

The event, which occurred in Fort Meyers, has already triggered nationwide and even international press coverage. It has also sparked debate about statutes purporting to create so-called “gun-free zones” at schools, which critics say make schools into a “magnet” for mass shooters. There are currently two bills in Congress to repeal the controversial 1990 “Gun Free School Zones Act.”

Cypress-Lake-HS-WFTX-620x362The 15-year-old suspected gunman in the Florida case, apparently a football player, was reportedly arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office following the threat and subsequent scuffle, authorities confirmed. At this point, he has been charged with possession of a firearm on school property and assault with a deadly weapon “without intent to kill,” according to a police report about the incident cited in local media reports. The investigation, however, is still underway.

“I think he was really going to shoot him right then and there. Not taking no pity … he was going to shoot him point blank,” one suspended student, 16, told Fox4 in Fort Meyers about the incident, adding that he was confused about why he was being punished for disarming a potential murderer. “It’s dumb…. How [are] they going to suspend me for doing the right thing?”

Witnesses, including the victim, confirmed that version of events to another local media outlet, ABC-7. According to the victim’s account, he noticed the 15-year-old suspect had a gun on his lap and then made eye contact with him. The suspect then stood up and the two began fighting, the victim told ABC-7.

“I said, ‘Are you going to shoot me bro?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to whack you,'” the victim told reporters about what happened, adding that other students on the bus then rushed the suspect and grabbed his gun before tragedy struck. “I’m thankful for the people that came to help…. I was scared; I thought my life was in danger.”

The arrest report confirmed that the .22 caliber RG-14 revolver found on the suspect was indeed loaded. It also noted that the 15-year-old alleged gunman, whose name is being withheld from most media accounts because he is a minor, was “pointing the gun directly” at another student and “threatening to shoot him.”

According to witnesses interviewed by local reporters, that is when the 16-year-old student, who was suspended along with at least two others, tackled the alleged gunman and wrestled the gun away from him. The day after the incident, the Good Samaritan received an “emergency” three-day suspension for being involved in a situation with a weapon present. Two other students involved in the scuffle were also reportedly suspended.

The mother of one of the suspended students who helped tackle the gunman expressed shock that her son would be in trouble for doing the right thing. Speaking to WFTX under the condition of anonymity, the concerned mom said she could not understand why her teen would be suspended for potentially helping to save lives. However, she mentioned that her son was refusing to cooperate with the investigation out of fear — one potential reason for his suspension.

“If they wouldn’t have did what they had to do on that bus I think there would have been a lot of fatalities,” she explained. “Those kids had to fight for their lives. All the kids that was involved in this they should have a pat on their backs because they did the right thing to save someone from burying their child.”

Local law-enforcement authorities confirmed the general outlines of the story: A 15-year-old student pointed a gun at a fellow pupil and threatened to shoot before being tackled and disarmed by other passengers on the bus. After being arrested at his home, the suspect was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center for processing.

Officials at the sheriff’s office said the charges were based on current information, but that the investigation was not yet concluded. Presumably, more charges could be added later if law enforcement determines that the gunman did indeed plan to kill the intended victim. “The charges presented to [the suspect] are based on our findings at this time,” Sgt. David Valez said in a statement.

Authorities say the video camera on the bus was not working at the time, so there is no actual footage of the incident to use as evidence, forcing investigators to rely on witness testimony instead. School district officials, meanwhile, confirmed that three students had been suspended, but declined to comment on the reasons for the suspensions.

“We cannot discuss specifics involving students,” district spokesman Alberto Rodriguez was quoted as saying. “Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing.” The mother of one of the suspended teenagers responded by saying that school authorities should be “ashamed of themselves.

After the news first broke, the story was quickly picked up by multiple national media outlets including Fox News, The Blaze, Human Events, and others. Even foreign press services have run the story. The U.K. Daily Mail, for example, published a report about the incident on Sunday.

Unsurprisingly, the controversial suspensions have attracted outrage from readers and local Floridians. Critics say the students who helped disarm the gunmen should be applauded, not punished. Even if the Good Samaritans are refusing to cooperate with the investigation out of fear for their own safety — “snitches get stitches” is a common saying among large swaths of American youth — opponents of the suspensions say punishing the teenagers is highly inappropriate.

Of course, this is hardly the first time that school authorities have made controversial decisions related to disciplining students for firearm-related incidents. In recent years, for example — as The New American has documented extensively — numerous children have been suspended or disciplined for things like drawing guns on paper, possessing “Hello Kitty” bubble guns, making their hand into the shape of a firearm and saying “bang,” or even wearing clothes with pictures of firearms.

However, the latest incident — students punished for stopping a suspected gunman — appears to be relatively unique. Analysts say, though, that following the outrage and widespread publicity of the Fort Meyers case, school officials may be forced to reconsider the punishments meted out to the students, who potentially saved at least one life, maybe more.

The case has also re-ignited the public debate about statutes declaring schools to be so-called “gun-free zones.” As countless experts have explained, rules purporting to ban the possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens — teacher, administrators, bus drivers, and parents — on school property only ensure that would-be killers can murder freely and with impunity until armed authorities arrive on the scene.

Following the lead of liberty-minded former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has re-introduced the “Citizens Protection Act” (H.R.133) in Congress that would repeal the 1990 “Gun Free School Zones Act.” Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) also introduced another bill, known as the “Safe Schools Act” (H.R. 35), to repeal the gun-free zone statute, arguing that school staff should be able to defend children with deadly force if needed — without fear of prosecution.

Gun rights activists have long suggested ending the controversial policy of ensuring that schools are filled with defenseless potential victims. They argue, among other points, that politicians, celebrities, banks, government facilities, the president, and others are all protected with firearms. School children, by contrast, are “protected” by signs informing people that the facility is a “gun-free zone.”

Despite sounding cliché, the fact remains that criminals do not obey laws — somebody determined to commit murder would hardly be concerned about violating “gun-free zone” rules. In fact, a would-be mass shooter would certainly prefer to target victims he knows are defenseless as opposed to victims who may be armed. That is why experts have called so-called gun-free zones “magnets for mass shooters.” Indeed, virtually every mass shooting in America has taken place in a “gun-free zone.”

Whether the latest case in Florida will have any serious impact on the national debate about controversial victim-disarmament statutes is unclear. With widespread media coverage, however, commentators have expressed hope that at the very least, the Good Samaritans on the bus will be vindicated for their reportedly heroic actions last week.

For more on this story go to:

Student suspended after disarming suspected gunman Quadryle Davis: ‘It’s Dumb,’ Cypress Lake High School student says

By Howard Koplowitz

A 16-year-old Florida high school student says he was suspended after disarming a teenage gunman who threatened to open fire on a school bus.

The Cypress Lake High School student, who did not give his name to WFTX, told the Fort Myers-area station that the school suspended him for three days because he was part of an “incident.”

But the student’s mother said the suspension was handed down because the teen refused to cooperate with an investigation into the Feb. 26 incident.

“It’s dumb,” he told WFTX. “How they going to suspend me for doing the right thing?”

The 16-year-old says he believed he saved lives by disarming the 15-year-old gunman, whom he said pointed the weapon and threatened to shoot another student who attends the Fort Myers school. The suspected gunman was identified as Quadryle Davis by WPTV.

“I think he was really going to shoot him right then and there,” the student said, adding that the gunman said he wanted to shoot his teammate on the football team following an argument. “Not taking no pity.”

A struggle ensued between the 16-year-old and the gunman, and the suspended student gained control of the .22 caliber RG-14 revolver.

Authorities could not recover surveillance footage from the school bus because the cameras weren’t working.

The suspended student’s mother defended his actions.

“If they wouldn’t’ve did what they had to do on that bus, I think there would have been a lot of fatalities,” she told WFTX.  “Those kids had to fight for their lives. All the kids that was involved in this — they should have a pat on their backs because they did the right thing to save someone from burying their child.”

The school district said in a statement that the district followed the law.

“We cannot discuss specifics involving students,” said district spokesman Alberto Rodriguez. “Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing.”

The 15-year-old suspect was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and possession of a firearm on school property, WFTX reported.

The Lee County School district released the following statement addressing the suspension:

“The District has completed its investigation regarding an incident that took place on Feb. 26, 2013, regarding multiple Cypress Lake High School students. The District is unable to comment regarding the specific disciplinary measures taken against specific students,” the statement said. “However, it must be noted that during the initial investigation conducted by the administration of Cypress Lake High School, the students involved refused to cooperate with school authorities regarding the events that occurred. As a result, appropriate disciplinary actions were taken at that time. Subsequently, law enforcement along with school officials have acquired additional information that has provided the complete picture of what occurred that day. Certain students involved have been and will be disciplined in accordance with that additional information consistent with the Code of Student Conduct and Florida law. The District will be making no further comment regarding this matter.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation was still ongoing.

“The charges presented to [the suspect] are based on our findings at this time,” said Sgt. David Valez.

For more on this story go to:

UPDATE: Mar 7 2013 – Lawsuit threatened over Cypress Lake HS ‘hero’ suspension Group threatens lawsuit to get suspension expunged

By Matt Grant FOX 4 WFTX-TV

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A national youth rights group is prepared to sue the Lee County School District, not for money, but to expunge the suspension given to a teen many are calling a hero.

This comes more than a week after a Cypress Lake High School student was suspended after he wrestled a loaded .22 caliber revolver away from a would be gunman threatening to shoot another student.

“He was going to shoot him point blank,” said the 16-year-old teen who wrestled the loaded gun away.

Fox 4 is not identifying him because he fears for his safety. He believes he prevented a tragedy.

“If you didn’t tackle him what do you think would have happened?,” asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

“More of us would have been dead,” the teen said. “Not just one.”

“This student deserves to be praised,” said Jeffrey Nadel, the president of the National Youth Rights Association, “not punished.”

The Washington D.C.-based group advocates for young people nationwide and is now representing the teen’s family.

“This student should be hailed as a life-saving hero,” said Nadel. “And, instead, school officials have mindlessly adhered to a circumstance blind school policy instead of looking this young man in the eye and saying ‘thank you.'”

According to the original referral, the teen was suspended for three days because he was involved in an incident where a weapon was present.

The school later altered the document, sending the family a new referral to say it was because he was “uncooperative” with the investigation and “lied repeatedly” to law enforcement.

The teen admits withholding information but says it was because he feared for his life.

“You don’t talk around here,” said Nadel.

“Cause then what,” asked Grant, “you get a bad reputation?”

“That,” said the teen, “or you get killed.”

“I think we need to look at the circumstances holistically,” said Nadel. “Again, he was just involved in an incredibly traumatic incident.”

Nadel says he was under no obligation to answer questions. He objects to the teen’s description of his treatment, saying he was never offered counseling and was subjected to a lengthy interrogation.

“This young man was interrogated for four hours against his will by school and law enforcement officials,” said Nadel. “And he was consistently denied access to his mother or to an attorney.”

Nadel says he just wants the suspension expunged from the teen’s record. And he’s prepared to fight for that.

“He should not have a suspension on his record for his heroism,” said Nadel. “If the district signals to us clearly that they are unwilling to do the right thing than a lawsuit is definitely in the cards.”

Nadel says if they go forward with a lawsuit it would be to cover attorney fees and force the school to remove the suspension from the teen’s record.

Since the incident happened on the school’s bus, Nadel questions if the bus driver was suspended and what he did, if anything, during the incident.

Fox 4 reached out to the school district for comment but did not hear back.

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