Teen Civil War Buff Suspended For Musket
Oct 27, 2004 11:28 am US/Eastern
(1010 WINS) (PINE BUSH, N.Y.) A student Civil War re-enactor, charged with weapons possession for bringing his musket replica to high school, has received a 21-day suspension.
Pine Bush Central School District officials have added 16 days onto the initial 5-day suspension imposed on Joshua Phelps, who was arrested Oct. 12 after a security guard patrolling a school parking lot spotted the musket in Phelps' car.
"If the school district really wanted to play hardball, they could have suspended him for a year," Phelps' mother Valerie Michaels told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown.
Michaels, who has accused the district of overreacting, said she's concerned the suspension will prevent her son from taking his Nov. 6 SAT tests since he's not allowed on school grounds.
The school district's decision to tack time onto Phelps' suspension, reported by the newspaper Wednesday, was made at a recent disciplinary hearing.
Phelps, who joined the Civil War re-enactors' club after seeing a school-sponsored ad urging students to get involved, hoped his membership in the organization would look good on his college applications. The weekend before his arrest, he had been taking part in a re-enactment and had forgotten that his soldier's uniform and musket was still in his car when he returned to school.
After the musket found by the guard, Phelps was called to the assistant principal's office. Police then responded, confiscated the musket, handcuffed Phelps and charged him with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon, punishable by up to a year in jail. Also found inside the vehicle during a search by school officials was a bayonet, rolled cartridges with black powder, and his Union soldier's uniform.
Phelps is scheduled to appear in court to answer the charge on Monday.
District officials did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday.
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