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Boise School District suspends student for gun off campus, creating a 'shelter in place'

KTVB-TV Boise logo KTVB-TV Boise 5/13/2022 Andrew Baertlein
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The Boise School District suspended 18-year-old Boise High School senior Daniel Dougherty for four days after causing a disturbance that led to a school-wide shelter in place, according to the Dougherty's family.

The Boise Police Department (BPD) responded to a call on May 5 regarding a student near campus with a gun, BPD Public Information Officer Haley Williams said. BPD instructed Boise High to shelter in place. Police quickly found the student in question, Dougherty, upon his return to campus from lunch.

Dougherty showed police to his truck, parked off-campus near the corner of North 14th Street and West State Street, where his handgun was locked away. There was no evidence of a threat or that Dougherty broke any laws, according to Williams.

The district originally suspended Dougherty for nine days and barred him from walking at graduation, according to his mother Jessica Dougherty. The district later reduced Daniel's punishment and will allow him to walk in the graduation ceremony.

"School safety is number one. But the problem we had was that they went off false information, which caused the disturbance. And he's being held accountable for that false information, the disturbance being the shelter in place," Jessica said. "He's out late at night feeding livestock and feeding our horses. We have mountain lions. We have wolves. We have things that can attack him. [His gun] is for safety."

Daniel noticed at lunch his truck door would not close properly, he said. He kept his gun with him briefly while walking to a nearby gas station.

"Downtown is sketchy. Taking gun safety courses, he knew he couldn't leave it in an unlocked car," Jessica said. "He wasn't showing it to anybody. He wasn't flashing it around. He was being a responsible young adult."

Daniel realized a loose weather stripping blocked his door from locking after he returned from the gas station. Daniel placed his gun back in his truck, locked the door, and returned to campus.

Daniel does not park on school property; however, the Boise High School Handbook considers surrounding streets and alleys as part of the school campus.

Daniel parked his car, "in a parking space near the school, in an area that is considered to be a part of school campus by the School Handbook (page 13)," according to an email from Boise High School Principal Robb Thompson to parents on May 5.

The area between the west side of 8th St. and the east side of 14th St. are considered on-campus, according to the School Handbook. Daniel parks his car in a lot behind Fanci Freeze, located on the west side of 14th St.

This lot is not on-campus by the School Handbook's definition.

"I'm not saying what they did was wrong by acting like they're supposed to do. But it should have stopped once they found out it was not on campus. There was no threat as [Boise Police] indicated. There was absolutely no threat," Jessica said.

Community members, including Second Amendment supporters, are organizing online in support of Daniel. A protest is scheduled on May 13 outside Boise High School.

Principal Thompson emailed parents on May 11 detailing the possibility of a protest. Parents may remove their students from class prior to the protest.

"They're not gonna be on school property. They're across the street. They're exercising their Second Amendment right. And in the state of Idaho, you have the right to do that," Jessica said.

BPD will monitor the protest and respond as needed, according to Williams.

"With only a few days left in the school year, we are committed to doing what we can to keep our staff and students safe and working to keep any distractions to a minimum as we focus on education," Boise School District spokesperson Dan Hollar wrote KTVB in an email. "Due to confidentiality, we cannot release details about this student disciplinary issue."

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