Weapons


Weapons Possession (WPO) - Level II

Definition:

Possession of any instrument or object (as defined by Section 790.001(13), Florida Statutes, or district code of conduct) that can inflict serious harm on another person or that can place a person in reasonable fear of serious harm.

Examples

  • Student or other possessing a firearm or knife.
  • Student or other using a knife, pocketknife, or other sharp or pointed implement to harm another.

Non-Examples

  • Student, after investigation, found to possess a common pocketknife or eating utensil with no intent to harm.
  • Student possessing items not covered under law or district policy such as pointed instruments, pens, or pencils.
  • Student possessing a cutting tool used in art, shop, or other class.

Additional Guidelines

Offenses in this category fall under the zero tolerance policy (Section 1006.13(3)(a), Florida Statutes). Unless the offense falls within the school board’s definition of a petty act of misconduct, students found committing this offense are to be expelled for one year (not one school year) and referred for criminal prosecution. Effective January 7, 2003, the Legislature amended Section 1006.07(2)(g), Florida Statutes, to remove reference to a knife, and instead references "a weapon as defined in Chapter 790…" In 2006, the Legislature amended the weapons definition in Chapter 790 by adding knife and further exempting plastic utensils and blunt-bladed knives and kept the pocketknife exemption. The "Weapon" definition in Section 790.001 (13), Florida Statutes, contains those items required to be in a district's code of student conduct and exempts "common pocketknife" as well as plastic utensils and blunt-bladed knives. It is the legislative intent that districts enforce policies that allow for discretion in determining whether to punish students found to be in possession of items such as pocketknives, plastic utensils, blunt-bladed knives, etc. Possession of any weapon or knife (including pocketknife) should be reported to law enforcement for investigation. Pocketknives found to be intended to use to harm another should be reported to SESIR.

FAQ

If a student has a pocketknife in his/her backpack, is that SESIR Weapons Possession (WPO)?

  • A non-example of WPO is “Student, after investigation, found to possess a common pocketknife or eating utensil with no intent to harm.” Possession of a pocketknife alone is not a SESIR incident; wielding/threatening with a pocketknife is a SESIR incident.

If a student brings a BB gun to school, how should it be coded?

  • Because a BB gun shoots a projectile powered by air, not by an explosive charge, it would not be classified as a firearm according to federal definition. It also does not meet the Florida Statute definition of weapon. Section 790.001(13), F.S. “"Weapon" means any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife.”

Mere possession of a BB gun is a local incident, not a SESIR incident. A BB gun may be considered contraband that school/district policy prohibits, and should be reported as a local code with appropriate disciplinary action. However, if a student threatens someone with a BB gun, instills fear of harm with it, or uses it, it is considered a weapon and should be reported as Weapon Possession (WPO), with a Weapon, Description (PDF, 41KB) of “Other Weapon”.

Related Elements:

Complete the "Weapon-Related" element and "Weapon, Description" (PDF, 41KB) for all weapon possession incidents: (i.e., F-Firearm, Other (bombs, incendiary devices, explosives, grenades, etc.) ; H-Handgun, K-Knife, O-Other Weapon (objects can become weapons when used for bodily harm, i.e., scissors, letter openers, air-powered "guns", etc.), R-Rifle or Shotgun, U-Unknown Weapon, and Z- Not Applicable).

Statutes

  • 790 Weapons and Firearms
  • 810.095 Trespass on school property with firearm or other weapon
  • 1006.07(2)(f) District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety-possession of a firearm

Contact

Office of Safe Schools 325 West Gaines Street, Room 554
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Phone: (850) 245-0416
Fax: (850) 245-9978

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