Update: San Pasqual High School students who had knives in car return to school

ESCONDIDO (KUSI) – 2/17/2016 – Two San Pasqual High School students who faced expulsion and possible criminal charges for a time after bringing knives to campus will return to school Thursday.

1:26 p.m. – Escondido Police announced Saturday they will not pursue charges against the two San Pasqual High School students threatened with expulsion after pocket knives were found in their vehicles.

In a press statement released by the City of Escondido, as with all criminal matters, the Escondido Police Department conducted a thorough review of the cases against Serrato and Cappelletti. Following the review, and based on the totality of the circumstances, the Escondido Police Department has decided to not submit the cases to the District Attorney’s Office, or to the Juvenile Diversion Program. No charges will be pursued in the case against Brandon Cappelletti and Sam Serrato.

"The safety of those attending schools in our community is paramount. Incidents where someone brings a weapon onto school property must always be taken seriously. Such cases warrant a thorough investigation by school officials and law enforcement. The administrative investigation conducted by school officials, as well as the criminal investigation conducted by law enforcement will include looking into all of the facts and circumstances that led to a weapon ending up on a school campus. Both investigative processes worked as designed; as is evidenced by the appropriate conclusion in the cases involving Sam Serrato and Brandon Cappelletti."  

 8:00 p.m. – Sam Serrato will be allowed to return to school, according to officials from San Pasqual High School. 

2/13/2016 2:50 p.m. – One of two San Pasqual High School students suspended after knives were found in their vehicles was issued a misdemeanor citation and the other has been recommended for a diversion program, Escondido police said ahead of a hearing Friday to decide if either or both would be expelled.

A contraband-sniffing dog alerted officials at the Bear Valley Parkway campus to the weapons in parked vehicles belonging to 18-year-old Brandon Cappelletti and a 16-year-old boy, who has been identified in news reports as Sam Serrato, on the morning of Jan. 27, according to an Escondido police Lt. Ed Varso. Both vehicles were searched in the students’ presence.

Three knives were found in Cappelletti’s pickup truck and a knife with a 3-inch locking blade was found in Serrato’s SUV, Varso said. Both students were subsequently interviewed with their mothers present.

Cappelletti told investigators the knives were left in his vehicle following a fishing trip with family the weekend before, Varso said.

Varso said the younger student purchased the weapon for protection with his parents’ knowledge about a week and a half prior to it being found and had been bringing it to school, but leaving it in his car, each day since.

School resource officers ruled both students were in violation of a misdemeanor crime by bringing the knives on school property, according to the lieutenant. Both Cappelletti and Serrato were subsequently suspended.

Varso said Serrato has since been recommended for a juvenile diversion program, which does not require his case to go through the formal court process. However, since Cappelletti is an adult, he was issued a misdemeanor citation and released to his mother.

A hearing to decide whether Cappelletti and Serrato will be expelled is set to get underway today at the Escondido Union School District offices, according to news reports.

It had initially been scheduled for Feb. 25, but had been expedited after several parents and fellow students called for leniency for the teens and questioned the district’s zero-tolerance policy and use of the drug-sniffing dogs.

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