The Southwestern Missouri town of 14,000, however, is rallying around Shepard.
When 18-year old Sawyer Shepherd was suspended from Carthage High School in rural Missouri over having his disassembled turkey gun in his truck, students and the town rallied around him.
The controversy began last Tuesday when Shepherd, a Carthage senior and member of the baseball team, went turkey hunting before school started, as reported by local media. After bagging a bird and posting a picture of the harvest to Facebook, the youth went home and cleaned up then went to school – forgetting his unloaded and disassembled shotgun in its case beneath the seat of his truck.
School officials – tipped off by an anonymous caller – later that day asked the student if he had a firearm in his vehicle and when he admitted to it, authorities were called.
Now on a 10-day suspension and facing expulsion for violating the district’s firearms ban, Shepard may not graduate next month.
“No determination has been made at this time,” Carthage School District Superintendent Blaine Henningsen told the Joplin Globe. “We’re making sure we have the facts and every bit of information we can get. We’ll go through the process with the student and parents, and reach a conclusion.”