Hundreds of North County community members are rallying behind a San Pasqual High School junior after he was suspended for what his family calls an accident and a misunderstanding.
They said, on January 27, 16-year-old Sam Serrato drove his father’s car to school. A family friend said a security K9 detected drugs, which ended up being Advil. Also in the car, officials found a pocket knife. It belongs to his father who had purchased it at a swap meet weeks prior. He said he and his son had forgotten about it.
As a result of that pocket knife, high school officials suspended the teen. Serrato is an honor roll student and active athlete. His family said he had never gotten into trouble before.
“It’s not fair. It’s been two weeks and he’s changing on me. It’s not fair! It’s horrible what you’re doing to him because of a mistake!” said Yvonne Serrato, Sam’s mother tearfully at a school board meeting.
A second student also was suspended after a pocket knife was found in his car; family members said at the meeting that it had been used for fishing.
Hundreds of people packed the room at the Escondido Union High School office Tuesday evening. Legally, board members are required to follow due process so they could not take action. Still, some board members went back and forth on how to deal with the situation.
“Maybe there’s some way to put this kid back in school. Something,” expressed board member Bill Durney.
“There is a process in place. There are things going on and we don’t have all the information,” responded board member Christina Knight.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the school district said: "EUHSD staff will be working directly with the families and other parties involved to help ensure the two current cases involving San Pasqual High School students are handled according to the framework established by the California legislature."
Serrato’s hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 25, but after high interest, the hearing was moved up to Friday, Feb. 12.