Will Chandler said he knows he should not have left campus when he and two friends left Wheeler High School for lunch a week ago.
“I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to get in trouble.’ I didn’t even know the knife was in there. I completely forgot about it and then they pulled it out,” said Chandler.
A school officer found a Swiss Army knife in Chandler’s car’s console. Under the school’s zero tolerance policy it was an automatic suspension for Chandler.
The next day, the Chandlers found out Will had also been charged with a felony.
“We found out that my son, there’s a felony warrant out for him. It just seems like a nightmare. We’re still in shock,” said Sharon Chandler.
Will Chandler was booked into the Cobb County Jail and his mother started a quest to find answers.
“When the principal said to me, ‘This could kill someone,’ I said to him, ‘So could a pencil.’ My son did not have this on his physical body, did not have it on him, it was not in his backpack, it was not in his locker. It was in the console of the car,” said Sharon.
The Chandlers said Will has a clean record and never would have taken the utility knife into the school, much less hurt anybody.
The Chandlers said they understood Will’s suspension for 10 days, but they believe a felony charge against the high school senior is over the top.
“This messes your life up, it follows you around for the rest of your life. When you fill out a college application, they ask you, ‘Have you ever been charged with a felony?’ When you go to work, they ask you if you’ve been charged with a felony and for right now, I have to mark, “Yes,” because of this,” said Will.
“And now we are taking away from that and focusing on this because this cannot be on his record. If this was on his record the choice of colleges he can go to will be nil,” said Sharon.
A Cobb School District spokesperson said their policy states a knife with a blade that's more than 2 inches -- the Swiss Army knife is 3 inches -- results in an automatic suspension and an automatic criminal charge.
The Chandlers said they will fight it. Will Chandler wants to be a dentist and his parents said they aren't sure that can happen with a charge on his record.