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: