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Former Park Rapids teacher charged with bringing gun onto schoolgrounds

A former Park Rapids teacher who resigned under pressure late last year makes his initial appearance on a charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds.

Scott Christopher Eischens, 38, was an industrial education teacher at Park Rapids Area High School for 12 years. He was placed on paid administrative leave when school officials found a hunting rifle in the bed of his pickup late last year.

He resigned in December 2010. He is set to appear Feb. 28 in Hubbard County District Court.

He faces a felony charge of possessing a gun on school property. It is against the law and school policy to bring weapons onto school grounds.

At the time Eischens allegedly claimed the gun was his son's hunting rifle and he didn't know it was in his truck.

Possession of weapons on school grounds is considered a "strict liability" crime. Those are different from most crimes, which require intent on the part of the defendant to prove guilt.

In a strict liability crime, there's no requirement the defendant intended to break the law.

Traffic violations are generally considered to be strict liability crimes.

The crime is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine upon conviction.

Eischens' criminal history score will determine what type of penalty he would receive. He has amassed numerous traffic violations, including a DWI, but no other criminal offenses.