Ohio Student Expelled, Arrested, Jailed For 13 Days . . . After A Small Pocketknife Is Found In His Locked Car Trunk By School Officials

jordan-wiser-e1394634913232Jordan Wiser, a student at Ashtabula County Technical School in Jefferson, Ohio is rightfully confused after being being arrested for bringing a weapon into school. The “weapon” was a pocket knife that he had in his EMT medical vest . . . that was locked into the truck of his car. That’s right, in the latest example of the insane application of zero tolerance rules, the school officials called police after searching the trunk of a locked car to find a pocket knife used by a senior in his work as a EMT. He was then fed into a legal system that refused to show discretion in his prosecution. Notably, prosecutor Harold Specht ran for office based on a pledge that he would maintain a “hardline, zero tolerance policy” as a prosecutor. It was the perfect storm for Wiser: zero tolerance administrators handing a student over to a zero tolerance prosecutor. But it gets worse . . .

Wiser may now be barred from fulfilling his dream of joining the Army. School officials say that he consented to the search but Wiser insists that he declined to give consent and asked to speak to this parents or a lawyer. School officials searched the car and found the small folding knife and an airsoft gun. (The airsoft gun was legal and used in a school club). They say that they had probable cause after monitoring comments Wiser made on an online forum. They specifically referred to videos that Wiser posted on YouTube discussing home defense techniques and self-defense.

The police was called and the school moved to expel him.

He was then charged with an illegal conveyance of a weapon for the knife.

He then spent 13 days in the county jail. That’s right, 13 days.

He now must enroll in a special online program to complete his education.

We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversals, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child.

The stripping away of fourth amendment rights of students parallels the same erosion of first amendment rights, as discussed in this recent column. We are increasingly raising the next generation in an environment of authoritarian learning.

To make matters even worse, the conditions of Wiser’s bond prohibit him from having contact with his grandfather at his home because of the presence of guns in the home. His grandfather is dying from cancer. The first judge ordered Wiser to be held on a half million-dollar bond and a psychological evaluation. He passed the exam but he was then hit with a $50,000 bond and an ankle monitor on Christmas Eve. It is important to remember that he is not charged with a conspiracy or threat against the school. The charge remains a four-inch folding knife in a vest in a trunk in a locked car in a parking lot outside of the school.

1551583_1383209458610125_2084158175_nOnce again, a student with a bright future has been victimized by school administrators who refuse to show an ounce of sense or humanity in the handling of children. What should have been a simple matter of a note to his parents was quickly elevated to an arrest and an expulsion. The police and prosecutor are no less at fault. Harold Specht, the chief assistant prosecutor at the Ashtabula County prosecutor’s office insisted in an interview that “We charge [people] with everything that we feel they are guilty of, and in this case, he is guilty of a felony.” Specht (right) shows the same robotic, uncaring approach of the administrators. What is lost is the welfare of this student and any element of logic. The incarceration of this boy for 13 days only magnifies the abuse. Yet, Specht insists that a trial will vindicate him and added “I know that there’s a load of people out here that just think we’re the devil because we’re allegedly ruining this young kid’s life . . . If this goes to trial, it will certainly come out in the wash.”

What is really scary is that Specht now wants to be a judge and is campaigning on his zero tolerance approach. He seems intent on convicting this young man to prove himself in the right. The kids has already been expelled, removed from this Army enrollment program, and forced into an online school. Yet, that is not enough for Specht. He wants to give him a felony record for a four-inch knife locked in the trunk of his car.

There should be discipline in this case, but it is not Wiser but the school officials, police, and prosecutors who produced this perfect nightmare.

69 thoughts on “Ohio Student Expelled, Arrested, Jailed For 13 Days . . . After A Small Pocketknife Is Found In His Locked Car Trunk By School Officials

  1. I am so sick of situations like this! They should pay punitive damages in the millions of dollars to this guy. It wasn’t that long ago when students brought rifles to school for target practice during P.E.

  2. I hope the jury does the right thing. An EMT? Give me a freaking break.

    Zero tolerance means zero common sense. I also get a sense from the story that somebody is lying about permission for the search, and I don’t think it is Wiser.

    Based on what I read, and having done a lot of fitness for duty evaluations, I suspect the wrong person got the psychological evaluation, and I have to wonder if Harold Specht could pass an exam. He comes across as a mean-spirited, heartless, sadistic, mindless robot with no common sense. Other than that, he may be fine.

  3. Thank god he didn’t have a “lighter” in his pocket!

    CONFUCIUS : THE GREAT DIGEST, THE UNWOBBLING PIVOT, THE ANALECTS. Translation and Commentary by Ezra Pound. Stone Text from rubbings supplied by William Hawley. 288 pp. New York: New Directions, 1951 and Reissued.
    It is in Pound’s translation of ‘The Great Digest’ that we find the striking line: “If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well governed” (p.33)

  4. I grew-up a county over from Ashtubula which always had a rep for being a very conservative and deeply stupid place. ironically, the grandstanding prosecutor didn’t care that he had a stun gun in his car! The origin of the charges seems to have been a series of self-defense-related youtube videos. It seems like this is one series of invasions of the youth’s privacy after another.

    As he points out in the HuffPo link, this is a very rural area (the largest town in the county has ~20,000 people and is a declining Great Lakes port) and it wouldn’t be unusual for students at his school to have knives or even guns (pheasant and deer hunting are common around there).

  5. Welcome to your new and ever expanding police state. If this was the son of a wealthy corporate executive or a campaign contributor, this kid would have been on his merry way without any worry of prosecution. Two-tiered justice; one for the wealthy and connected and one for the other 98%.

  6. The point is not that pocket knives, Danish, legos, etc. are bad. The point is that viciously attacking defenseless people is wrong, including military attacks, capital punishment, police violence, and miscarriage of justice.

  7. This young man should counter sue.
    Whoever his attorney is should point out to the jury that this knife is a tool not a weapon used by every fireman and EMT.

    Counter sue.

    Stephan Patterson

  8. gbk,

    This should give pause:

    “They say that they had probable cause after monitoring comments Wiser made on an online forum. They specifically referred to videos that Wiser posted on YouTube discussing home defense techniques and self-defense.”

    Probable cause was based on monitoring his comments . . . ? Why did “school officials” do this in the first place?

  9. I would expand the fitness evaluations for officials that OS has proposed to include the first judge, and the school administrators. This is so outrageous that I hope that all of the officials concerned are removed from office ASAP. I also think that a lawsuit would be appropriate since it is one way of restoring some sanity to people like this.

  10. This is assinine on every level

    First, it’s a POCKET KNIFE folks and is it is a tool used by EMS personnel, firefighters, and cops. The student says it was for cutting seatbelts. He is right about that because I carried one for that purpose.

    I’ll be willing to bet there knives that students possess in school. Like in the kitchen or home economics. Ever considered a pair of scissors might be in this school. Well I’ve handled numerous cases where scissors were used as weapons. Hope they don’t have a wood lathe in shop class; an arsenel of weapons available there.

    Good thing this student did not have a syringe in his EMT kit or else he would have been charged as a heroin dealer.

    There was no probable cause whatever to search this student’s vehicle. Just because he made a video defining home defense does not equate probable cause to search. If the search gets thrown out, there goes the criminal case

    Oh and for Mr. Zero Tolerance, Esq. in the prosecutor’s office: Your own election webpage shows why you should not be elected as judge. The blind, senseless mantra shows that you are going to make a point to convict everyone standing before you. Judge Zero Tolerance, now there’s a frightening thought.

    I don’t know if this student is really going to see justice in this county. If this prosecutor is any indication of the criminal justice system there the student is in for a long ordeal.

    The quickest way to end this would be for the prosecutor to believe his election campaign for judge would be ruined if this student is convicted of anything.

  11. A very disturbing case. If I understand it correctly, it is ok for students to have guns locked up in their cars, but not pocket knives!? While I am not in favor of concealed carry laws, is any gun less dangerous than a knife? Secondly, as mentioned earlier, it is just as disturbing that the students here should be up in arms about what appears to be the routine monitoring of students in their private lives. Finally, how do you spend 13 days in jail for this offense? Was he unable to come up with the bond? This prosecutor should be held to the same zero tolerance policy when hopefully he and the school are sued.

  12. His grandfather is dying from cancer because there are guns in his house.

    I did not know guns could do that!

  13. War is coming and is needed in this country to clean out the POLICE STATE PROBLEM that we have. Instead of making excuses for the obvious STUPID actions by a bunch of parasite incompetents in Guber-mint you should ALL be demanding the firing of all of the Beuro-RATS involved. PERIOD. This whole event is an INSULT to our nation, our heritage and our way of life. This is the kind of crap you would see in POLICE STATE operations like Isreal or other Soviet Socialist scams. Disgusting pigs. Vote with your wallet and buy more ammo. Share this story EVERYWHERE you can ASAP. Liberty 1775

  14. These people are genuinely insane. How the hell did they ever get into positions of authority? Why are they still there?

  15. This is a time for someone like Ralph Nadar. Multimillion dollar lawsuits will impose a level of common sense on municipalities and cities who allow idiots into positions of power.

  16. Perhaps if people were able to accurately understand the social psychology notion of “the fundamental attribution error” along with accurately understanding the nature of dispositional attribution in relation with situational attribution, along with an accurate grasp of the nature of personal loci of control, we might, as a species,begin to develop a realm of law which people could actually obey as a matter of actual informed consent.

    Robert Merton’s and Frieda Adler’s works on anomie and synomie might be worth intense study and contemplation.

    In my work, anomie and synomie are not polar opposites; rather they usefully modeled mathematically as being orthogonal to one another in a complex variable hyperspace.

    Simple mathematical models of complex phenomena are, I surmise, always wrong because of oversimplification.

  17. Its storeis like this that wish I had taken up being a criminal defense attorney instead of an engineer. If I understand the school correctly this was not a public high school and since when does a school have probable cause rights to search an individuals vehicle. Pathetic.

  18. the author of this has really bad grammar and terrible writing skills, if your going to try and keep the world informed and spread up to date important information- try doing it in a way that makes you credible and proffesional- if i tried to use this article as a reference id be laughed at. good story though

  19. @Jeremy annieofwi is gentle and polite. I’ll be different and direct. As you state, we readers might be laughing but are certainly cracking a small smile at the irony.

  20. And Idaho just passed a law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on our college campuses… Just as insane.

  21. Here is the message for this particular conditioning:

    tolerance = weakness
    pain is weakness leaving your body

    Hey, we all agree that we do not want pain.


  22. The strangest part of this story is not what has been done to this boy but the author of this piece not investigating the most basic and obvious question, what did this boy post online that lead the school to investigate the kid in the first place?

    How in the world can this author or anyone else for that matter make any kind of judgment without knowing the whole story? Perhaps the kid’s comments did not warrant such action.. but perhaps they did. We don’t know! I’m really surprised at the knee jerk reactions from people who apparently can’t think for themselves and get all worked up based on an article that gives you half the story.

    I’m not assuming this kid is guilty of anything and I’m not suggesting the authorities are innocent. I’m asking the obvious question. how in the world can we arrive at any conclusions when we don’t even know what initiated this whole thing? This should be commonsense.

  23. To follow up.
    If the kid posted that he has a knife and plans to use it….. Well that puts this story in a different light. We don’t know what the kid said… so we don’t know how appropriate or inappropriate the actions of the authorities were.

  24. DonnyBoy,
    You could have done your own homework. The young man is a member of the school sanctioned Airsoft team, and posted some tactical videos. Not unusual for a young man planning on entering the Army…that’s where his interests lie. His other interest is saving lives, and wanted to be an EMT. Wow! That is really threatening.

    I am starting to think he managed to piss off somebody with connections.

    Ummm….do you have any words of criticism for anyone but Jordan and the lebenty-dozen reporters who have covered this story?

    And back to the homework part. It took me about fifteen seconds to find his YouTube account with all 74 of his videos.

  25. First they came for the pocket knives and I was not a pocket knife and I did not speak up. Then they came for the dogs and I was not a dog and I did not speak up. Then they came for the kids who spoke out in class in favor of the First Amendment and I was not a First Amendment and I did not speak up. Then they came for the teachers and that was ok because no one liked the teachers. But they would never come for the Principal.

  26. A little back story on this joker.
    He’s been kicked out of every junior fire fighter program in the county.
    (Mine first. I’m one of the adult advisors)
    He repeatedly attempts to pass himself off as an EMT, which he’s nit
    He’s trying to sell this story as “poor me, my constitutional rights were violated”
    He’s a loose canon with serious behavioral issues who can be trusted with the responsibility that goes with public safety.

    Do not be fooled.

    His YouTube videos are terrifying
    He’s been an embarrassment to every department he’s ever been affiliated with(and subsequently kicked off of)

    He’s dangerous

  27. bldfarm,
    We get it. You don’t like him. I have his videos pulled up in another window, so please tell me which ones terrify you?

    Also, would you please explain to me why a four inch pocketknife in a utility jacket pocket in the trunk of a car is reason for two weeks in jail, an obscenely high bond, and a felony charge? What exactly makes him dangerous? How do you evaluate “dangerousness?” Are you a forensic psychologist?

  28. Bldfarm wrote:
    A little back story on this joker.
    “His YouTube videos are terrifying…He’s dangerous”
    Well, let’s look at a couple of those videos shall we?

    Is Crow a popular dish in Ohio?

  29. Darren,
    Well done. The first one sounds almost as if he were one of my suicide hotline trainees. Very good, excellent points and upbeat.

    And a memorial service. With bagpipes yet. Truly dangerous behavior on the part of several dozen students, and I notice sergeant’s stripes on a police uniform at that prayer service. Maybe we need to investigate that officer too.

    Curious that suddenly apologists for the authorities come out. It really raises my suspicion bump when some commenters use anonymizing and IP spoofing when posting.

  30. “pain is weakness leaving your body”

    Cherish your pain. It is nature’s way of telling you are still alive.

  31. How ironic that Jordan Wiser has been sanctioned by the institution which he seeks to serve?

    Of dubious note, been searched without a proper warranty, having a pocket knife which acts principally as a tool be described as a weapon of assault, and how an individual who incidentally carries what could be described as a weapon is rough housed by an increasingly ‘terrorist’ state apparatus which of course mandates that it only wants to preserve our freedoms…

    Of course one can’t help but wonder if John Wiser has an incident with instruments that could be considered as assault weapons in the past, something that to date has not been revealed….


  32. BigFatMike wrote:
    “Cherish your pain. It is nature’s way of telling you are still alive.”
    Very true Mike.

  33. Just ridiculous. Well on a positive note in someway, if the kid is convicted and given a felony thus ruining his dreams of being in the military and any future public service, perhaps he will see how oppressive, senseless and bureaucratic our government and justice system is and that will make him happy to not be apart of it. Then he can join the ranks of the people who have seen past this illusion of freedom that we have in this nation,

  34. Heaven forfend I grew up in this age of the immortal video and post and text and sext. It’s painful enough to simply remember what a self-conscious nerd I was, from the hard drive that exists only in my brain.

    @bldfarm, Your post sure doesn’t look all that “adult.” Really. Actual adults can tell. ‘just saying.

    So people, perhaps even some nominal adults don’t like him. That much was clear from the nature of the story but thanks for providing evidence of sorts. Anything can be made to look creepy if we look, if we want to find it. It can look any way we want if we look through our own filter. There are no inflections in typed text, and English is a most inflective language. We subconsciously provide them when we don’t actually hear them, they therefore come from us.

    Even so and he were not suited to the work and uneasy to get along with, why not let him graduate, and let him leave for the Army that would smooth the rough edges, as rough as 18 year olds can have, or not, and deal with him. I don’t understand.

    But rumor, photoshop, youtube videos and posts, and a pocketknife? Really? I remember growing up in the 70s looking at the 50s and thinking how stupid people could be, how incomprehensibly stupid, giving up freedoms, hunting “communists,” supporting McCarthy while droning on and on about freedom. I think we’ve doubled down and yet in real time it’s still incomprehensible.

    School shooters are the new Islamic terrorists who are the new ritual child sexual abusers (remember that?) who are the new witches. “it will all come out in the wash” is the exact same as if after dunking a suspected witch died, it was OK because she’d go to heaven. Arrest, indict, and prosecute them all and let the judge sort them out? What country am I living in??

    CIVIL RIGHTS ARE NOT ENUMERATED FOR THOSE WE LIKE. They wouldn’t have to be for those we like would they? They are for the marginal, the minority, even the ‘guilty.’ Yet they are for ALL no for none. Felony prosecution just can’t be used because you know “he’s dangerous.” I’ve seen his videos and I’ve seen your post, remarkable how quality trumps quantity.

    Sure begs the question whether there’s anybody in that County worth protecting…

    Even so he seems to want to – yeah that’s abnormal. Abnormal GOOD.

    Interesting issues of this case are:

    Can policies set forth in a student handbook really substitute for a warrant or imply consent for a search?
    Can a judge really intimidate someone to call for a cessation of a change.org petition? (as effective as those may be)
    The Army lets in those with felony convictions now, why not this minor one, is it too new? (if it resolved into that)
    Why, oh why, would “conveyance of a weapon” not include a stun gun? (a legislative ‘what were they thinking’)
    How many school shooters, or felons of any type made gun *safety* videos? Bueller??
    And who, really, has the hate-on for him?

  35. As a former law enforcement officer myself, I recall receiving several calls of this nature. I generally responded that is was not a law enforcement issue and moved on. Schools didn’t like that and I believe that if competent officers did not respond to such calls by fully enforcing the extent of the law onto children, or anyone in such cases like this, then such zero tolerance polices might lose some weight. I question the mental caliber of an officer, prosecutor and school official, who, after seeing the facts of such a call, and then continues with the “legal” process at taxpayer expense. This is an example of social engineering. If this authoritarian spirit, combined with the exploitation of law enforcement, becomes dominate again within the entity of American government, all the progress made towards liberty, and the founders fight against aristocracy, actually digresses the US back into the subject and master plateau of human history. Sad.

  36. Kids are being farmed……no fancy words needed. Home-school them to save them. These are cretin institutions we speak of here, both public and private.

  37. Jude,
    That reminds me of a criminal court judge I used to know. When a jury was empaneled, he would thank them for their service and explain the duties and responsibilities of serving on a jury. Standard stuff. He would finish his talk by telling them they were responsible for finding a guilty verdict for criminals and acquitting the innocent.

    Then, he would turn to the Bailiff (a deputy sheriff), saying, “Mr. Sheriff, please bring in the first criminal.”

  38. Interesting how one word can change the entire meaning of a sentence, yet how revealing it can be:

    “He’s a loose cannon with serious behavioral issues who can be trusted with the responsibility that goes with public safety.”

    I suppose that would explain the mentality of the officials who hold this young man’s future in their hands. According to this statement, this is exactly the type of people they recruit to spy on peoples private lives, conduct searches without permission, and jump to ridiculous conclusions. It’s a shame that the actions toward this young man are based almost entirely on fear. I say this because fear is often the cause of irrational behavior, and from the information provided, this appears to be quite irrational.

  39. @Charlton S. Stanley

    You make all good points that I happen to agree with except for “It realIly raises my suspicion bump when some commenters use anonymizing and IP spoofing when posting.”

    I always use a VPN when away from home to protect myself from hacking. There is nothing sinister about that.

  40. I find it funny how lawyers and law professors ponder how our legal system has gotten the way it has…. a complete mystery.

  41. I wonder if anyone noticed that the car the knife was locked in is a far more dangerous weapon, if one desired to hurt people.

  42. Zero tolerance policies are a bad idea. It removes the requirement to use any sort of logic, reason or good judgement. You get to hide behind the letter of the law, no matter how inappropriate the punishment is compared to the “crime”.

  43. Reblogged this on saboteur365 and commented:
    This article provides an example of a totalitarian police state that is growing ever more confident in its ability to abuse the citizenry. It seems that the New World Order is anxious to see that everyone has a police record, the easier to control us when that is the case.

    The former USA, now the USSA, has embraced this insanity, as we eat our young. Professor Turley is a national treasure for his defiant attitude and his outspokenness. If I hadn’t read this extremely important case here, where else would I see it. The sunshine of publicity, though, does not seem to be having any effect on the System as it ruins a young man’s life. So, what do we do about it? The meanness in this country probably means that half the population approves of this insanity. May it prove to be a case of temporary insanity, but I’m not optimistic.

  44. Gotta wonder if everyone who reads this blog just got added to one of those Federal counter-terrorist association lists.

    At 2:35PM, March 18, a comment was made on this thread by someone using the name and photo of a Michigan Militia movement wanna-be revolutionary. The revolution never happened, but Michigan’s keyboard revolutionaries continue ranting online, most notoriously in the form of the Hutaree Hillbillies from Adrian.


    What put this guy in the FBI crosshairs was his bizarre fax to Texas Right-wing Congressman Steve Stockman immediately following the McVeigh/Nichols Oklahoma City massacre.


    I’m as pro free speech as anyone, but the commenter’s guns and ammo mentality disturbs the hell out of me.

    You want change? Get involved in local politics. It’s the only place you’ve got any influence.

  45. Obviously this is insane. From uncompromising school officials to an overzealous prosecutor nutcase. What a travesty

  46. On the brighter side, hopefully Wiser will never be allowed to enlist in the military. This will at a minimum preclude him from becoming a brainwashed trained killer for the government believing it okay to initiate violence on command much like an attack dog. Amazing how a face to face encounter with government may reshape this young man’s understanding and possibly make Wiser that much wiser..
    In a strange way, if I were keeping score, I would say 1 for the people, 0 for the state.
    Sadly this is what it usually takes to wake people up to the absurdity of statism and its monopoly claim on the initiation of violence and aggression.

  47. We are increasingly raising the next generation in an environment of authoritarian learning.


    its all about showing the next generations that they are slaves and only to do what they are told to do.. its exactly why they have destroyed the educational system so that the young do NOT know how to read. and without reading they do not understand what democracy and freedom mean.. they have no idea they can fight back and win. because thats not what they are told about the world….

    sorry my kids are all well aware of it and i spread the word as much as i can whether the people are listening or not.. they can not say they werent warned and informed of what is going on,…

  48. Prosecutors are the least accountable members of the legal system. They break the law routinely. This prosecutor and many others are sociopathic in my opinion.

  49. This is a perfect example of a zombie apocalypse. They say, “I found this here,” or “Look at this thing,” and it ends in a federal offense. The first three words of the Deceleration of Independence:”We, the people”. Nothing about politicians, doctors, scientists, or any crap like that! Our forefathers made this country, America, now WE have to defend it! I swear, if they could see what America has become, they would be TURNING IN THEIR GRAVES. If they think they can do anything they want and get away with it, they are as wrong as HELL! WE put these people there, WE can TAKE THEM DOWN! It’s time for a second Revolution!!! People of America, OF THE WORLD, RISE UP! RISE UP!!! We CHOOSE to conform to their tyrannical rule. WE DON’T HAVE TO LIVE AS THEIR FAITHFUL MAGGOTS, WHO WILL DO ANYTHING THEY TELL THEM! If we all wait for someone else to start something, NOTHING WILL START! We don’t have to live as their pawns, their sex toys, their slaves, their servants, THEIR ZOMBIES! WE HAVE MORE POWER THAN WE GIVE OURSELVES CREDIT FOR! If we want to live in a land of freedom, WE MUST MAKE IT A LAND OF FREEDOM!!! WE MUST TAKE THE REINS, RISE UP, AND TEAR THEM DOWN!!!! The only reason anyone is determined “qualified” for a political or other position, is because they know they will do as they’re TOLD! “The kids shall inherit the world,” so they say. Well, if we’re going to inherit the world, WE SHOULD MAKE IT A WORLD WORTH LIVING IN!!!!! NOW, RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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