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