A Missouri high school student is reportedly facing expulsion after school officials discovered an unloaded, disassembled shotgun in his pickup truck last week. According to The Joplin Globe, 18-year-old Sawyer Shepard has been put on a 10-day suspension while the Carthage School Board considers additional disciplinary actions. Under the school’s current policy, bringing a weapon onto campus could result in a year-long suspension or expulsion, both of which would prevent Shepard from graduating next month.

A popular student and athlete, Shepard’s absence has drawn protests from students and others who are calling for the school board to be lenient. Present during the rally was State Representative Mike Kelley (R-Lamar).

“Too often today the bureaucratic rules [of the] government squelch the freedom of its citizens,” Kelley wrote on Facebook. “For those that have asked why am in involved, I tell you this. I feel it is my duty to assist when government oversteps its role.”

I had a good visit today with students, the high school principal and the superintendent and I have nothing but respect…

Posted by Mike Kelley on Friday, April 24, 2015

The lawmaker previously opposed “Gun Free Zones” and called such policies “a true example of government policy at its worst.”

The incident occurred last Tuesday when Shepard went turkey hunting with a friend in the morning before school. The pair successfully bagged a bird and Shepard dissembled his gun—removing the barrel from the stock and receiver—and stored it in his truck. He then drove home, changed clothes, and arrived on campus. Shortly afterwards, an anonymous caller informed school officials that Shepard may have brought a firearm onto school grounds. According to the Associated Press, an administrator asked the student if he had any firearms in the truck, and Shepard acknowledged that the shotgun may be inside. At this point police were called to the school, but declined to press charges since no laws were broken. School officials say they had no choice but to suspend the teen while they launched a investigation into the incident.

“This is a very emotional issue,” said Carthage School District Superintendent Blaine Henningsen. “We have a lot of people in the area who hunt and are outdoorsmen. This is the case with this particular student.”

The administration also indicated that it was highly likely for Shepard to still graduate, which may be helped by popular support from the student body and on social media, where the hashtag #FreeShep has been trending. For their part, Shepard’s family stated that they are not upset with the investigation but appreciate all the support from the protesters. The family has since retained an attorney.

What do you think of this situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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35 thoughts on “Missouri Turkey Hunter Faces Expulsion from High School for Leaving Disassembled Shotgun in Truck

  1. Sawyer is undoubtedly a great kid. These lib idiots will probably screw up his future with their political correctness crap. What a country. When I was a kid we did that kind of thing all the time and believe it or not, no one was ever killed or injured.

  2. The world is full of morons; and I am talking about so-called “educators”. I ask what is the intent of the student? Obviously not to harm anyone, or he would not have broken down his gun. His intent was to hunt, which he did. Why did he bring his truck to school? Transportation. That’s his intention with that truck. Could he use that truck to run over students/teachers, yes he could. But what is his intent.

    I remember when I was in the 8th grade (some 46 yrs ago) in Maine, I brought a S&W single shot “Straight Line” model target pistol w/ 10″ barrel to school for “show and tell” in front of the class because my grandfather used it in national pistol competitions (and it was, of course unloaded). Everybody, including the teacher, thought it was great and a rare pistol. Nobody freaked out at all. Some kids would bring a shotgun to school, stick it in their locker, and while walking home from school would shot a snowshoe hare or two for dinner. It was a tool for a purpose. The intent was for hunting. Nobody ever thought about shooting people! How times have changed for the worst. There is no more common sense!

  3. My only question would be why did he go home to change and drop off the turkey but then not leave his shotgun there. He disassembled it because he intentionally intended on bringing it back to Campus against the rules. That is why he’s in trouble. He could just as well have left it at home with the rest of his hunting gear.

    1. How the frick would you know what he “intentionally intended” (no redundancy there, huh)?
      Were you there?
      Are you telepathic?
      OR are you just a fricking troll?

      1. I’m a former hunter and alandeon 2’s question appears reasonable. The young man could have left the shotgun home. I don’t think the young man should be suspended. I disagree with this zero tolerance nonsense. I agree with grandpa chucky in regard to intent and his common sense comment.

      2. While alandeon may have posed a legitimate issue with that question, the commentary that followed was subjective and cast aspersions on
        Sawyer Shepard that were unnecessary.

      3. I agree, I don’t believe Shepard’s intent was to break down the shotgun so he could bring it back to the school. I believe it was a habit he’s done after a hunt. He just breaks his weapon down to transport it and it probably saves him time when he wants to clean it. My guess is, he just plain forgot to bring it in the house. He and his hunting buddy were probably talking about the hunt at school and some big mouth ignorant liberial animal lover probably over heard them and decided to rat him out.

    2. I bet you have never been hunting, I am a women and my guess is after hunting before he left the woods he broke down his gun. rushed home to change and drop off his kill so it would not spoil (because most people eat what they kill) and then in return rushed off to school. sounds like a lot of smart moves to me. People forget things all the time. Alandeon2 I hope you never forget something

      1. I agree. He also could have not broken it down and saved the ” less than a minute” by just bringing it inside his home. Milk has already been spilt just my 2 cents.

      2. Just saying it wouldn’t have mattered about breaking it down or not. He is supposed to be the responsible hunter here. Whether he forgot to take the gun out because he had other things on his mind or simply went bleh.. it will be okay. I was just stating that it hardly takes any time to take a shotgun apart. He probably broke the gun down out where he was hunting when he got to his vehicle and forgot about it.

  4. There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and in this case, the spirit of the law should be taken into consideration. Intent and motivation are everything. He obviously had no motive or intention of harming anyone as he had been out hunting, a lawful and wholesome pastime. The law was created to keep people safe and since students were never in any danger, there is really no reason to be hostile and punitive with this student.

  5. If Sawyer is booted, it would really be something if all the senior students who believe this is an overreach by the school, would simply remain in their seats and refuse to walk across the stage to receive their diploma. The diploma is theirs and, like most schools, it’s not included in the folder, but provided later. Stand with their buddy. The school would be look abhorrent if they denied a large number of kids their diploma because of bureaucratic stupidity.

  6. It is perfectly legal to have a disassembled shotgun in the trunk. In Minnesota it doesn’t have to be disassembled, only cased and unloaded. People do this all the time, no one gets shot. The only reason it’s a problem is because of people that don’t understand life in this manner. They don’t hunt, so they don’t see it as a way of life. It’s “tolerated” for “indigenous tribal peoples” as mentioned in previous conversation on this site. But, for the average “redneck”, they should stick to buying their food at the store….. Antis just want the guns gone because they fear them. Silliness. You should be aware of the nuts, they are the dangerous ones. It doesn’t matter what they use, they just will hurt others, even if it’s just chucking glass and rocks. This kid didn’t do this to intentionally break rules, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. He just didn’t think about it. The gear he dropped off, he was wearing. That’s why, because he had to change for school. The shotgun was safely and properly stored. Get off his back you legalistic jerks. You only stick to law when it suits you….. Hypocrites!

  7. my son went to a school here in MO, A few years ago his niece was shooting her BB gun and then laid it in the back of his pick up truck when she was done, well she did what kids do, she forgot to take it out of his truck. When he went to school the next day and took his truck into the school auto body shop to have some work done they noticed the BB Gun in the bed. He was then suspended, it was only weeks away from graduation. In the beginning we were told he was suspended for the remainder of the year and would have to come back an make up his work the following year and would not be able to graduate with his class. After meeting with the school board and letters to the board from a few of his teachers we all agreed on a 3 day suspension and he was able to graduate. Although strict rules in today world are necessary it is nice to know sometimes there are real people who look out for you and take all the facts into consideration. I hope this young man the best and hope the school board lets him return to school so he can experience the rest of his senior year which he has earned. I truly believe in the right to carry and remember the days when almost every truck had a gun rack in the back window and hunting before school was the thing to do, Back then gun safety was something that everyone understood, our youth had better things to do then protest, and plan terrible acts of violence, they worked hard, played hard, got their asses spanked and respected their elders. If this young man is spending his free time hunting and not causing trouble or sitting in front of a video game more power to him.

  8. Why not call an assembly for the entire school to the football field and have him publicly executed for this heinous crime against all humanity! My deer rifle hung in the gun rack of my truck in the high school parking lot! When will this insanity end!

  9. I am a future educator in the state of Missouri and seeing this disgusts me… I can remember bringing my shotgun to school and checking it in at the principals office and getting it at the end of the day because we had a claybird shoot after school. This student did nothing wrong except being involved with a liberal education system. As a future educator I want my students to see how ridiculous the situation has become. Here’s to keeping a job in a system that can’t stand folks like me. #FreeShep

  10. It is sad the world has come to this. I remember just a few years ago we would go hunting in the morning, unload the gun, put it in the truck seat, and drive to school, Then after school we would go back to the woods. We didn’t even change clothes and the administration knew that there were guns. It is southwest Missouri and in season. There was no malicious intent and his was even disassembled. The kid obviously has a level head on his shoulders.

  11. Many of us grew up after WWII and every high school had a competitive rifle team, check the year books.

    Us boy’s brought a new hunting guns into school to show the teachers(men), or would bring it on the bus
    and leave it in OUR car, with a teacher or the principle(they all hunted together w/our dads) til after classes
    so WE could hunt OUR way back home thru the hills, for woodchucks, rabbit, grouse, ducks, squirrels or pheasants.
    I’m certain the principle kept a pistol locked up in his desk, he hunted w/our dads and was a good shot.

    He and almost all the male teachers were members of one of the local Rod n Gun Clubs with a shooting ranges as well as many hunting camps. It was very active with events, the ladies(wives) catered these events like muzzle-loader shoots,Trap+Skeet shoots, ham+turkey shoots, rifle shoots, receptions and special events of all kinds even weddings. Archery was really picking up then as crossbows are now.

    Now there’s far more specialty shooting events but not everywhere like then; Cowboy-Action, long-range+pistol competitions, reenactments of all kinds- Mt. man rendezvous, Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 on+on -these are big today but you have to travel to get there.

    It’s just not wide spread in every community like it was locally then, it should be promoted more, it’s great!
    First day of deer season then 1/2 the school was out, same w/opening day of trout season, not today tho ~!

  12. Ok, the days when I went to school we had gun-racks in our back window and if we showed up late the principal wanted to either see our deer or turkey (or at minimum see pictures) and hear all about it.
    I could see if he didn’t have time to go home, but he went home to change clothes, why not drop off the gun?

  13. I live in a rural area and have grown up hunting and even hunted before school in the mornings. But using just a half ounce of common sense, I never thought I would get away with bring even PIECES of a gun to school much less leave them in the open where people could see them if that was the case. I did not read the article because really it should be a none issue. Pull your head out of your ass and take the gun home first !! By this point in your life you know there is going to be an issue with it and your just trying to create problems and that’s what people really want to do in their spare time is coddle to other peoples dumbassary !! NO, it shouldn’t cost him graduation because kids do stupid things, but there are all kinds of people in this state that think they need the rules bent for little stupid crimes and rules they broke and if you think hard enough, you know what I’m talking about. We have to stop with the changing the rules to suit people who know exactly what the rules are and the consequences of breaking them !! What happens the next time he breaks a dumb rule or the next kid that does what he did. Will it be fare that one ? Just saying, he knew the rules and he is old enough to know better especially what he did. And screw anyone that wants to call me a lib tard on any thing like that because I’m not. I’m probably as big of a supporter of the second amendment as anyone. I’m just so tired of dumbasses creating fights where they shouldn’t. I was a good kid too, worked through school, but when I screwed up, I paid for it and owned up to it. He screwed up, now he has to deal with it !!

    1. IMHO, this response makes more sense than any of the others. People who break the rules to make a statement usually hurt their cause.

  14. I was thrown of the campus of a north Missouri high school 20 years ago for this exact circumstance. A local police man walked me off school grounds with his gun drawn. I was scared to death. No one cared how me and my classmates were treated back then. Why start now?

  15. No laws were broken and at the legal age of 18 he can have a gun in his truck as long as it doesn’t leave his truck on school grounds let the kid graduate and read the second amendment quit being like the big wigs up there in Washington

  16. The shotgun was disassembled and unloaded. It was also made apparent that the kid was hunting and he did not deny the shotgun was in the truck. I feel the school did has a choice in this matter and they made the wrong choice.

  17. I sold a shotgun to my Ag teacher when I was in school. Took it to the Ag building. Gun free zones are dumb & don’t work. Just more infringement on everyone’s freedom & liberty.

  18. Walking down the hall randomly shooting people is JUST a little bit different than having your hunting shotgun, (rifle or pistol for that matter) stored, securely in your pickup. Just another glowing example of democra-idiocy in action. Hell when I was in school I carried, (and so did most of my classmates, even the girls) a buck knife or multi-tool, when I was in the 8th grade I assembled a .54 caliber Hawken flintlock rifle and two .45 caliber flintlock pistols in shop class and one of the science teachers fired them behind the school to demonstrate how they worked. For the love of Pete people, look at the breakdown of the family and society in general before you chastise a young man who did nothing to harm anybody. Fix what’s broken not what isn’t… By the way Sawyer, nice bird. Hope you get into Missouri Conservationist Magazine with that photo.

  19. It’s not a firearm if it’s disassembled. Blithering idiots. By their standards I could have an arsenal in my car; it weighs 4200 pounds, that much steel is a lot of disassembled firearms.

  20. Kid changes his clothes but didn’t bring in his gun?? Yeah. Bullshit 🙂

    I’m a hunter. I know where my gun is at all times. Gun. Ammo. License. Only thing I know exactly where it is in my pack. Kid should be taught a lesson. Popularity doesn’t let you get around rules.

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