Former shop teacher appears in court on gun charge
A former Park Rapids schoolteacher made his initial appearance Monday in court on a charge of bringing a hunting rifle onto school grounds.
Scott Eischens, 38, Ponsford, was released on his own recognizance on the felony charge. He told Hubbard County District Judge Paul Rasmussen he was in the process of retaining private counsel.
Eischens resigned under pressure in December after an internal investigation into the incident was sent to the County Attorney's office for prosecution.
A student reported seeing an uncased rifle in the back seat of Eischens' Volkswagon on Nov. 15 and alerted the school police liaison officer. Police found three live rounds in the magazine, according to the complaint. School and police officers conducted the investigation. Authorities earlier said the rifle was in the bed of a pickup truck.
The school district and state law employ a "zero tolerance" policy banning weapons on school grounds. Uncased firearms are not permitted in city limits.
Assistant Hubbard County Attorney Jonathan Frieden asked for certain conditions during release - that Eischens relinquish all his firearms and not come into possession of any weapons.
But Frieden withdrew part of that condition when Eischens said he was about to be deployed in the military. He agreed to surrender his personal weapons.
Eischens' next court appearance is set for March 28. If the criminal case he is facing is not cleared up by then, it's doubtful his commanding officer would agree to a deployment overseas.
Eischens was an industrial arts teacher for 12 years.