Princeton, N.C. — A Johnston County teen who was suspended after he inadvertently left two unloaded shotguns in his car at school has lost his appeal and will graduate from an alternative school, his attorney said Tuesday.
A hearing officer upheld Superintendent Ed Croom’s recommendation that David Cole Withrow, 18, receive a long-term suspension from Princeton High School, where he was a senior. The recommendation is not an expulsion and allows Withrow to finish his education at an alternative school, according to a spokeswoman for Johnston County Schools.
Withrow’s attorney said in a statement to the media that the teen will not pursue further action.
In the statement, the attorney from Hewitt & Wood said Withrow wanted to thank Croom for allowing him to complete his studies and to apologize for “all the stress and negative attention this matter has brought.”
“Although we may not agree with the North Carolina school laws regarding this situation and the corresponding policies of the Johnston County School system, after careful review, we do believe they have been followed in this case,” the attorney said in the statement.
Withrow is scheduled for a May 16 court appearance on a felony charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds April 29.
He has said he left the shotguns in his car after a weekend of skeet shooting and did not mean to bring them to school. Withrow tried to get permission from administrators to take them home but was suspended.
The story of his arrest and subsequent suspension garnered national media attention as classmates rallied and “Free Cole” T-shirts were made. Withrow was offered a scholarship offer from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and from Harding University in Searcy, Ark.
In the statement, the attorney said Withrow and his family harbor no bad feelings toward the school system and ask their supporters to feel the same.
“Cole is a Christian and an Eagle Scout and does not endorse or support any of the negative comments and requests that it please end now,” the attorney said.