Friday, April 24, 2015

Sawyer Shepherd suspension: Necessary or just guns and neurosis?

The suspension of Carthage High School senior Sawyer Shepherd for having a disassembled shotgun in his vehicle has created a considerable amount of controversy, with students protesting the suspension Thursday before school.

Carthage Police acknowledge there was no intent of criminal activity, yet school officials say they are bound by the Missouri Safe Schools Act, which  mandates his suspension.

On KZRG this morning, Carthage R-9 Superintendent Blaine Henningsen says he does not think the incident will keep Shepherd from receiving a diploma or graduating, but he never specifically says that Shepherd will be able to participate in his class' graduation ceremony.

The following explanation of what happened was posted on Facebook by Sawyer Shepherd's sister, Haley Marie Carter:

“Tuesday morning, he went hunting before school,” Carter posted. “After he was finished, he unloaded and disassembled his shot gun, put it in the case and then put it under his seat. Then he went home, unloaded his hunting stuff, grabbed his baseball equipment and went to school. Unfortunately, he forgot to take the gun out from under his seat.

“At some point, the school had an anonymous tip that there were Ak-47s being traded in the parking lot. After questioning students, somehow, Saw's name got brought up. So, of course the school brought him in to question him. At first, he himself couldn't even recall if it was in his truck or not. But after thinking, he thought it could still be under his seat and told them that. His gun was in his truck. Locked. Under the seat. In its case. Unarmed. And disassembled.”

Carter said in her post that she understands that the district was following federal law and that the strict policies have been put in place to protect students.

“I understand the hands of the administrators are tied,” Carter said on Facebook. “My question is this. Why is there not a way around it for special circumstances? Even the school knows that there was zero chance Sawyer was a risk. Now, you have a student who was 17 school days away from graduation being removed from school. Keep in mind he has not had any behavioral issues or disciplinary occurrences in school, ever. Also, under suspension rules he is not allowed to make up homework (that doesn't make sense to me). He cannot participate in baseball. Whether he will be allowed to graduate is still unknown”

The following report is from KSN:


Anonymous said...

Absolute suspension per policy. He can always appeal to the BOE.

Anonymous said...

There's certainly something "neurotic" about all of this. When my father attended Joplin High School in the late '40s-early '50s, students would frequently store a gun in their locker after hunting in the morning like Shepherd or for hunting after school. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has told us he traveled in the NYC subway system from Queens to Manhattan with his target rifle. Back then, "school shootings" were unheard of.

Anonymous said...

Back then people shot back.

Anonymous said...

Just glad for once headlines are Not about Joplin School.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that will work. They tend to blindly follow the Superintendents rulings.

Anonymous said...

Accident or not, he brought a gun to school. He needs to accept responsibility for his actions and suffer the consequences. Otherwise the world is going to be a very hard place for him (as well as all the people making excuses for him).

Anonymous said...

This is where some common sense should come into play.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he is a fine young man but it seems there could be more to this story. If he left it in his truck and forgot about it and told no one about it than I doubt his name would have randomly came up that day for having a gun unless Carthage has a psychic on staff. This is more than just a mistake but a violation of federal law that was put in place after young lives were lost. Even if it were an honest mistake I'm afraid he may miss some ball games and may have to do a little extra to graduate. That's a hard lesson learned actions have consequences. I wish him the best!

Anonymous said...

This is more than just a mistake but a violation of federal law that was put in place after young lives were lost.

That's ridiculous in the context of any person like Shepherd who belongs in a school. The law "was put into place" after the Stockton schoolyard shooting, in which, as Wikipedia puts it, "The gunman, Patrick Purdy, who had a long criminal history, shot and killed 5 schoolchildren, and wounded 29 other schoolchildren and one teacher, before committing suicide."

That shooting was just an excuse to create many "flypaper laws" to harm people like Shepherd and discourage gun ownership, since none of these laws would have had any effect on Purdy.

As for the "hard learned lesson", well, it's certainly useful to teach him and others that our society is being run by the functionally insane, that good or bad intent means little to nothing, and that honest mistakes will be used to harm or destroy the innocent. He and others have learned nothing good will come from cooperating with the authorities.

Anonymous said...

Why are there people that always think there is more to the story and "he should have followed the rules"? Those kinds of people are stupid and are usually in authority positions and rules and regulations are more important than common sense and being human.