Teen with guns at Johnston Co. school won't graduate with classm - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Teen with guns at Johnston Co. school won't graduate with classmates

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18-year-old David Cole Withrow was arrested Monday on a felony charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds after he left the guns in his car at Princeton High School. 18-year-old David Cole Withrow was arrested Monday on a felony charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds after he left the guns in his car at Princeton High School.
PRINCETON, N.C. -

A student who left two unloaded shotguns in his car on school grounds will be able to graduate but won't be able to do so with his classmates in Princeton and that angers many of them.

18-year-old David Cole Withrow was arrested Monday on a felony charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds after he left the guns in his car at Princeton High School. 

He had gone to the principal's office to explain his mistake and was taken into custody.

School superintendent Dr. Ed Croom said Withrow has not been expelled and will be allowed to get a high school diploma.

In situations like this, the school superintendent says a student is assigned to an alternative program in Smithfield to complete their school requirements.

Withrow has been assigned to that program and it's at that school where he will graduate on June 7th.

All this doesn't sit well with his classmates and many parents of seniors at the school.

"We've known him ever since kindergarten; he's never been a problem to anybody," said senior Jacob VanValkenburgh.

Students at the school have been told by the principal not to talk to the media about the situation, but some like Jacob are so outraged they're disobeying that order with his mother's blessing.

"He still wants to go to Princeton with us," Jacob said. "he wants to graduate with us; he grew up with us."

Cole Withrow and his family say they can't talk about the situation right now until it goes to court; but parents of other seniors have no trouble speaking their minds.

"He's an "A"-"B" honor roll student and just because he made a simple human error they have degraded him to an obnoxious point," complained Ann Lee who is the parent of senior at Princeton High.

School officials say social media reports about Cole's suspension weren't correct.

Never was the child expelled from school, said Doctor Ed Croom. He was never, never told he would not have an opportunity to receive a high school diploma."

But because the eagle scout won't be graduating with his classmates at Princeton high, students and parents around here say they're going to try and stop that from happening.

"We're not happy because he's not graduating with us just yet," said Jacob VanValkenburgh.

"The community is standing behind this kid as everyone can see and we won't rest till he walks across the stage  at Princeton high school," said Parent Ann Lee.

She says parents of seniors are considering a rally of support for Cole in the near future.

Meanwhile the superintendent says the case is still middle of the "due process" where the family has 10 days to appeal the decision.

The Associated Press reports Withrow has received a scholarship offer from Liberty University in Roanoke, Va., and from Harding University in Searcy, Ark. 

Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said Withrow is a victim of a system that he called "overly sensitive."
 

MATERIAL FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WAS USED IN THIS REPORT

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