Expelled for a year. Three students are in hot water for shooting airsoft guns on school property. The parents of one expelled Millard student say the punishment is too harsh.
Brandon Eastlack shot an airsoft gun on Millard school property but says it’s hard to believe he's been expelled for one calendar year.
".Brandon Eastlack the expelled 8th grader says," We weren't shooting at people, we weren't shooting at the school, and we weren't shooting cars we were just shooting each other."
A parent’s gift on his 14th birthday, Brandon took the airsoft rifle to nearby Abbott Elementary for a friendly battle with two classmates from Kiewit Middle School.
Brandon says he was by the school portable about 5:30pm, but when he saw kids starting to practice soccer on the other side he and his two friends moved over to the Grace Abbott parking lot where they thought they could fire airsoft pellets at each other and nobody would be around.
But there was a parent teacher organization meeting and someone called police. Officers didn't issue any citations but had the boys call home then turned them over to Abbott’s Principal. The next day Kiewit Middle School staff expelled the boys for one year based on a code of conduct every student gets. It prohibits airsoft guns from any school property 24 hours a day.
David Eastlack, Brandon's father says, "There was no intent on hurting anybody, they were horsing around like eighth graders do."
Brandon had his mom return the airsoft gun to the store. Brandon says, "After I got done talking to the police, I got in the car and said mom I’m so sorry take it back I don't want it any more."
But a football player and wrestler Brandon can't step on Millard school mat or fields until next October. Barb Eastlack, Brandon's mother says with tears in her eyes, " The rule needs to be changed, the policy is unfair to students like Brandon who just make a silly mistake."
His parents say Brandon is not a trouble maker and even spent a week of summer vacation helping Oklahoma tornado victims. But they worry that good work will be overshadowed by a bad decision to play with an airsoft gun after school but on school property
Millard’s School Board President Mike Pate can't talk about this specific case, but he says a student taking a paint ball, b.b. or airsoft gun on school property is subject to a mandatory one year expulsion.
Pate says, "You can't start making exceptions on a student by student basis. That's why we have it written in policy. That's why we have to make sure we adhere to these policies and administer the penalties consistently across the board. "
Fact Finders reached out and the parents of a 14 year old 8th grader say the appeal of his one year expulsion has been denied by a hearing official. That means they'll have to take their case to the Millard school board.