While this week has been filled with cries to free Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, alleged Boston Bomber, there is a young man who actually has been wronged by the government. His name is David “Cole” Withrow. Cole is an Eagle Scout and a very good student who is supposed to be graduating with honors from Princeton High School in Johnston, North Carolina. Cole also has been accepted to both Campbell and Eastern Carolina Universities. Both universities have offered him scholarships as well. All in all Cole is the spitting image of a great kid. So what did he do to get slapped with a felony charge just a few months before graduation?
Cole arrived at school Monday morning and realized he still had his shotgun in his truck after a weekend of skeet shooting. Instead of turning around and driving all the way home and being late for school Cole parked his car and went into the office to call his mother and ask her to come secure the weapon and take it home. Sounds like the mature and safe thing to do right?
Not according to the Johnson County Schools or the Johnston Country Sheriffs Office. Instead Withrow’s conversation was over heard and he has since been expelled and charged with a felony for bringing a weapon to school. Now of course there are laws and school rules that govern bringing firearms to campus. However, the problem with “zero tolerance” policies is that they assume that all situations and people are the same. Clearly this is not so, no matter how bad our liberal friends want to believe the contrary.
Johnston County Schools actually has two sets of rules for cases like these apparently. In the last few years two faculty members of two Johnston County schools have been punished for having a loaded gun on campus. The first was a teacher who was suspended and then resigned. The second was the assistant principle at Cole’s high school. Neither faculty member was criminally charged and the principle was suspended for three days. When asked, the sheriff’s office confirmed that if a teacher brings a firearm onto school property it is a simple misdemeanor, however if a student commits the same crime it is an automatic felony.
When asked about the ruling that has landed this young man out of school and in jail Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Tracey Jones said, “Certain items are mandated and we have no choice but to follow the law.”
The real problem here is not the teachers or the administrators because they are legitimately bound by the zero tolerance policies. The real problem is the policies themselves.
Most people would argue that there is a real difference between Withrow and, say, a student in the same grade who is a trouble maker and is always in trouble. Because of the fact that we are not allowed to differentiate anymore both of these people get treated the same.
It is simply not right that a kid with good grades and no behavior issues, who simply forgot about his shotgun in his vehicle, gets the same punishment as a drug dealer who carries a gun at his high school to intimidate and possibly even harm people.