Mother: deputy partially to blame for suspension over knife brought on campus

Mother: deputy partially to blame for suspension over knife brought on campus

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Sheriff's Office is looking into claims that a deputy targeted and coerced a Cordova High School student last December, leading her to a 45-day suspension.

Laura Pingel, 17, is a junior at Cordova High School. Her mother, Diana Pingel, reached out to WMC Action News 5 on Tuesday claiming that a deputy is partially to blame for her daughter's suspension.

Diana says it started when the deputy pulled her daughter over and searched the car.

"They found two pocket knives in the trunk from when she had gone hunting the weekend before that she forgot was actually still in the trunk," Diana said.

She says the deputy put the knives in the backseat of her daughter's car, then asked her to follow him to Cordova High School so he could check her in.

Diana claims the deputy called the school and made them aware that she had a weapon in her car, though her daughter willingly gave the knife to a deputy at the school when she got there.

During a hearing held at Cordova High School on Tuesday, Laura Pingel was given 45 days of suspension for having a weapon on school grounds. Diana told WMC Action News 5 they plan to appeal that decision.

Shelby County Schools couldn't speak about the case, but cited its policy.

According to the student code of conduct, possession of a knife on school grounds is a category B offense and could lead to suspension or expulsion up to 180 days.

Diana Pingel filed a complaint against the deputy.

Late Tuesday, Shelby County Sheriff's Office told WMC Action News 5, "The complaint has been filed with our Bureau of Professional Standards and they will determine based on the information whether to move forward with a formal internal investigation. There will be no additional comment until a determination has been made."

"Lesson learned here is definitely double back and check my daughter's trunk after I've asked her to take it out. I asked her to take it out on Sunday and she forgot," said Diana, who has five days to appeal the suspension.

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