KARNS (WATE)- Parents of an 8th grade middle school student are furious after their son Zach Bonsnjak, 14, was arrested for setting a stink bomb off on a school bus.
The parents are mad not because he is being punished, but because he is charged with a felony.
Bonsnjak along a fellow 8th grader were arrested Wednesday afternoon for setting off two smoke or stink bombs at Karns Middle School.
Both are being charged with carrying or possession of weapons on school property. That's considered a felony.
The two were released from the Richard Bean Juvenile Center Wednesday night on a $3,000 bond.
"I was pretty furious about the sensationalism about the act committed. I believe firmly that the punishment does not fit the crime," said Matej Bosnjak, Zach's father.
It was a simple prank, a dare from a friend that got Zach Bosnjak in big trouble, according to his father.
Bosnjak said Zach's friend brought the stink bomb on the bus ride into Karns Middle School Wednesday morning. His father said the friend dared him to step on it.
"It's a little glass vile, no larger than a multi-vitamin pill," said Bosnjak.
According to a Richard Bean Juvenile Center Official, nobody was harmed and no damage occurred on the bus.
The parents of Zach Bosnjak said it was purely a prank.
"The intentions weren't there. It wasn't pre-mediated. There was no harm. All the kids on the bus were laughing," said Barbara Bosnjak, Zach's mother.
Zach's friend, the one who apparently gave him the stink bomb, set off his own outside in a school hallway around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.
Shortly after that, the principal called authorities. Zach was taken away in a patty wagon and was booked at the Richard Bean Juvenile Center around 3:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The other student was brought in around 1:30 p.m. according to a Correction Center official.
"He actually thought they were going to drive him around the parking lot to scare him, because there were no windows," said Barbara Bosnjak.
His parents say they weren't notified until Zach was in custody. Knox County School Board policy states if charges are being contemplated: "Interrogation shall not commence unless a parent or guardian of the student is present"
"I don't think this has been handled appropriately," said Barbara Bosnjak.
Zach's father says his son wanted to follow in his footsteps and join the military. With a felony conviction, he doubts that could happen.
"I will not stand by and let his future be ruined over a knee-jerk reaction of a principal," said Matej Bosnjak.
Karns Middle School Principal Cindy White didn't respond to our request to talk.
Knox County Schools Director of Public Affairs Melissa Ogden wouldn't talk about the incident, but says the students involved will be disciplined accordingly.
Ogden added, "If there is parent concern regarding how the incident was handled, then we will certainly look into it."
Bosnjak is suspended from school until his school disciplinary hearing next Tuesday.