A pocket knife may be a tool useful for home repairs and first aid, but in the eyes of school officials in Jefferson, Ohio it is a dangerous weapon.
High school senior Jordan Wiser faces felony weapons charges at an April 1 hearing for storing a small pocket knife in his car while the car was parked on school grounds. Should he be convicted at his trial, Wiser’s dream of serving in the Army and as a police officer will be derailed.
“I had my entire life mapped out,” Wiser said in a Mar. 13, 2014 interview with the Daily Caller. “I was enlisted in the Army. I was schedule to ship in August.”
On Dec. 12, 2013, Wiser was arrested after Ashtabula County Technical School’s principal called the Sheriff’s Department. “They said it was the Youtube videos,” said Wiser, admitting he has posted videos of himself teaching weapons safety techniques. “I’ve been shooting since I was 8 years old.”
“The principal said he had reason to believe I had weapons in my vehicle and needed to search it,” Wiser told the Huffington Post in a Mar. 10 interview. “He made me empty out all my pockets, and the vice principal grabbed me and patted me down very forcibly. It was somewhat awkward. Then they took my car keys. I told them what was in my car and said, ‘Don’t be alarmed.’”
While school officials claim Wiser gave consent for their search of his car, Wiser says otherwise. “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 Fox News on Mar. 18, 2014. “They told me it wasn’t an option.”
Upon searching the vehicle, school officials found a TASER, four gun powder pellets, a Colt 6MM air pellet rifle, a 9MM Glock air pellet handgun and a tactical vest containing a knife.
“My stun gun was locked in the glove box,” Wiser told the Huffington Post, “and the knife was in my EMT medical vest. I bought it at K-Mart and have it as part of my first responder kit for cutting seatbelts.”
A-Tech has a zero tolerance policy for weapons of any kind on school grounds. Upon finding the pocket knife, school officials expelled Wiser from both his home school and the technical school.
Wiser was then jailed for almost 13 days. At his first bond hearing, the judge ordered Wiser to be held on a half million-dollar bond. Later, after Wiser passed a psychological evaluation which found he was not a threat to himself or others, a different judge reduced bail to $50,000.
“If I am convicted of a felony, I’m never going to be a police officer. I’m never going to be a fireman. I’m never going to be in the military,” Wiser said. “I won’t even be able to be a janitor. I’m 18 years old, and this is going to ruin my entire life.”