Story Archive

Zero Tolerance, Unequal Treatment Division

David “Cole” Withrow, a senior at Princeton (N.C.) High School, was expelled from school and now faces felony charges because he accidentally brought an unloaded shotgun onto school property. The Eagle Scout and Honors student had gone skeet shooting, and after arriving at school he realized he had never taken the gun out of his pickup truck. He called his mom to come get it, but school officials overheard the call and called the sheriff; they say their zero tolerance gun policy mandates expulsion. “Administration reacted promptly and the proper procedures and protocol were followed,” says school spokeswoman Tracey Peedin Jones. “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property.” Students and community members both protested, pointing out that two different school officials accidentally brought guns to local schools in recent years, but they were neither fired nor arrested. One was an assistant principal at the same school, who brought a loaded handgun to school. A teacher at another school also brought a gun, and decided to resign. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that when it comes to guns on campus, school officials are normally charged with a misdemeanor, and students are “automatically” charged with a felony. (RC/WTVD Durham) ...“No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” —14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Original Publication Date: 12 May 2013
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 19.

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