High school senior arrested, expelled for leaving shotgun in locked car on school grounds

gunsA North Carolina high school senior and Eagle Scout may not get to graduate this spring – all because he told school officials the truth.

Cole Withrow, a student at Princeton High School, was expelled from school and charged with a felony Monday after admitting to school officials that he accidentally left a shotgun in his locked car. Withrow had used the gun during a weekend camping trip and did not realize it was still in the car until arriving at school. He promptly called his mother to tell her, which is when his private conversation was overheard by the administration and the trouble began.

“The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” school district spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones told Fox News. “The situation was turned over to law enforcement immediately.”

Not everyone in this small community of 1,000 residents agrees with the school’s decision, however.

“I think it’s an injustice for this young man,” family friend Kimberly Boykin told Fox News. “He’s a good guy. He’s loved by his classmates and his teachers. You don’t become an Eagle Scout by being a bad seed.”

Boykin also believes that the school is teaching students the wrong message.

“You teach your kids if you’re in trouble or if you see you’ve done something wrong, go ahead and admit it,” she said. “Be a man and it’ll be fixed. In this case, that’s what he did and he’s being punished for it. That’s not the lesson we need to teach our kids.”

Students have also rallied behind their former classmate, setting up a Facebook page in support of Withrow and tweeting with the hashtag #FREECOLE.

“He is very honest and respectable and would never intentionally try to hurt anyone,” classmate Kelcie Thomas told Fox News. “It was an honest mistake and my whole school is backing him up and supporting him fully.”

h/t Fox News

Comments

Comments

  1. Classic_Brian says:

    Why hasn’t the Judge dismissed the charges with prejudice and expunged his record yet?

    1. Dave says:

      Can someone tell me the name of the navy ship the picture was taken on? Having spent 10 years on aircraft carriers, I can spot a navy flight deck a mile away.

  2. swampsniper says:

    I was in high school through the late 50s. If a male student drove his own car or truck to school there was a better than even chance he had his deer rifle or shotgun along for the ride. I can’t recall a single case of abuse.

  3. Sapper331 says:

    I went to high school in the early 90′s in a very rural place. We brought our guns to school and we hunting afterwards many times. Never had any trouble. It’s our society and parenting that is the problem, guns have always been around and available.

  4. Spencer J. "Pick" Lyman says:

    Our Nation is being geared to Socialism and that means the gov’t runs every aspect of our lives as that is how they keep CONTROL of the people!
    Today’s Society is Extremely Paranoid and the weak and fearful are demanding more personal security and they do not care tat they are losing their freedoms in making such a demand!
    Every time someone demand that the Gov’t should make a Law or Gov’t Should Do this or that, the gov’t smiles greatly upon the fools and they are more than accommodating in relieving Citizens of their US Constitutional Rights!
    People need to heed what they ask for!
    My Wife’s Aunt next door is an avid anti-gun Democrat, but she sure feels safe secure in knowing everyone around her has weapons and she can call upon them if she feels threatened from a snake in the yard to a stranger in the yard…
    Americans need to take a step back and stop for a moment to assess what course of action they are demanding and choosing the path they are to follow as both measures can reap a World of Contempt or Content!

  5. William Jenkins says:

    Should have just left, even though he attempted to the right thing. It’s a shame doing what is right you get arrested. Ask for forgiveness, not permission these days.

    1. Dave says:

      There are some situations where a person needs to keep their yap shut. This was one of those. If the gun was in the trunk, no one would have been alerted and he could have simply taken it home after school let out. As for phone conversations, I don’t answer phones in public areas. never know who is listening in to a private conversation. Can this situation be considered invasion of privacy? Doubtful. It however wouldn’t surprise me none if it can be turned in to one and be dealt with.

  6. swampsniper says:

    I can’t figure why the kid decided to discuss it over the phone in the first place. My mother would have been surprised if I was ever found very far from a rifle.

  7. OldmanRick says:

    This is what happens when too many liberal, progressive, socialists are in a school administrative system. The young man forgot that he had left his shotgun in the car. He also honestly admitted his error to school officials. Based on the circumstances the young man should have been told to be more careful in the future and let the issue drop. What is needing closer scrutiny is the character and background of the official who overheard the phone conversation between the Mom and son. Let’s check out him/her to determine whether that individual should even be allowed within 1,000 yards of a school.

  8. Darrin French says:

    We need a blood bath and take back our country. The liberals have fast become too powerful – tyranny runs rampant in society.

  9. Randy says:

    What is with the ‘new’ comment system?

  10. dan says:

    “Knowingly and willingly” are key terms. He was neither.

    If I’m not mistaken, schools are funded by attendance. If so, what happens if all students refuse to go to school for the last two weeks? The school loses out on all that $. GOOD LUCK COLE. Stick to your guns!

  11. Andrew Gober says:

    This happened in a rural town of 1000 not in a big city. I’m sure that guns are a common sight around town with almost everyone owning a gun. I went to high school in the 1980s and the shop teacher taught me how to sharpen my buck knife that I would cary on campus. They also had archery as a class with a real bow and arrows. I feel sorry for our youth that have to grow up in this new environment of fear.

  12. lancefromek says:

    “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property…
    This honorable young man did not knowingly or willingly bring a weapon to school; he said he found it in his truck, behind the seat while retrieving his book bag. Then, when he called his mother to come and take the gun home, eavesdropping school officials learned about the mistake and phoned the police.
    What is so utterly unjust, is that he may now have a felony against his name which will likely prevent him of holding countless jobs in the future.

  13. Dave says:

    Nice photo, Having served in the Navy, specifically aircraft carriers, I can spot a flight deck a mile away. What ship was that photo taken on?

  14. Dave says:

    So….What Navy ship was the picture taken from? I can spot a ships flight deck a mile away.

  15. John Wiley says:

    Let’s look at 2 basic facts.

    First a responsible high school senior — about to be a legal adult and all that entitles him to — and allowed to go camping with a gun was stupid and irresponsible. He “forgot” it was in the trunk. How did he not think of it and how did he not see it as he unloaded the other camping gear? If you make a foolish mistake it is a bad thing. Basic gun responsibility includes knowing where it is and having it in an appropriate place at all times. Driving to school means knowing and following rules — rules of the road as you drive and rules about school property when you’re on it.

    Second don’t the school rule say “knowingly and willingly”? True – he was somewhere between foolish and down right careless — but it doesn’t sound like he knowingly or willingly brought the gun.

    He owned up to and was honest about his mistake. Good for him that he did. The school folks need to own up to and follow their own rules and replace knee jerk reaction with some common sense. Bad for them that they don’t.

  16. Tmouse says:

    Honestly the law is the law. How do you “forget” to have 2 large shotguns in the front of your car? Furthermore, the slander that people are coming out with surrounding the school’s administration is ridiculous. WRAL and Fox News should be ashamed for what they did and the false statements they produced to try and protect a guilty party and drag down others when they themselves are ignorant about the truth of the matter. The news stations owe a huge apology to the administration of the school for their misleading, malicious, and harmful allegations.

    1. swampsniper says:

      When I was in high school probably half the student vehicles in the parking lot contained a rifle or shotgun, we often hunted before and after classes. It wasn’t a big deal then, and shouldn’t be now, the young man is obviously not a gangbanger.
      You people who panic and go nuts at the simple mention of a gun need psychiatric help, 99.97% of the guns owned by American citizens are never and never will be misused.

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