Andrew Williams, 18, was accused by a fellow, unnamed student of smoking marijuana in his car while parked in the school parking lot Sept. 5. The anonymous student reported Williams to a campus police officer, who then informed an assistant principal.
That assistant principal, Sam Sanford, searched Williams’ car without getting a search warrant or asking permission, according to Williams. While no marijuana was found, Sanford did find a pocket knife with a 3-inch blade and turned the teenager over to police to be arrested.
Williams was also suspended pending a disciplinary hearing that will determine whether he can return to school and finish out his senior year.
But Williams’ father, Andy Williams, said Wednesday that he requested more time in order to hire an attorney.
“I asked for a continuance so I could get an attorney and of course there was no way they could deny me that,” Andy Williams said.
He said he has now hired an attorney who has advised him not to speak further about the case.
The Cobb County School District has declined to comment on the case.
Andrew and Andy Williams said the school administrators have recommended that Andrew be expelled for the rest of the school year.
Of more concern is the felony criminal charge of “carrying a weapon in a school safety zone.” If he is found guilty of that charge, he could face two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
He is also worried that his plans for college and his future ability to find employment could be impacted.
Like many states, Georgia passed strict “zero tolerance” laws against weapons on school campuses after the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. One of the forbidden items in Georgia’s statute is any knife blade larger than 2 inches.
Williams said he kept the 3-inch pocket knife in his console in case he got in a wreck and needed to cut off his seatbelt. He experienced a serious wreck in February, in which his father said the teen helped pull his friends from a vehicle he thought was going to explode.