Hunting gun case brings suspensions


Published: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 11:44 p.m.
A trio of Dixie County High School students were back in school Wednesday after a 10-day suspension for bringing their hunting guns onto school property before the holiday break.
The three boys, who were not identified by school officials, are not expected to be criminally charged.
The guns were found while Dixie High Principal Charlotte Lord was looking for a paintball gun that had been used to shoot at least one car passing by the school a few days before the winter break. While Lord was looking into cars parked in the student lot, she saw a long-barrelled gun in one of the cars.
Superintendent Dennis Bennett said a school resource officer and school officials had all 50 or so of the students who had parked on campus walk out to the parking lot and open their vehicles for inspection.
"We found three guns that were all confiscated by the resource officer and we had the parents of those three students come to campus to pick up their children, and we turned the guns over to the parents," Bennett said.
The students and their parents attended a closed School Board hearing Tuesday night where Bennett said the students all apologized for their lapse in judgment.
"These were good kids who all had a 3.0 grade-point average or better, no disciplinary referrals and they admitted they knew the rules but had not thought about them," Bennett said. "Also, the board took into consideration that these kids had no malicious intent. It's probably pretty common in rural areas for kids to bring a gun to school to go hunting in the afternoon, but that is still not acceptable. We did not have these kids arrested although some districts may have done that."
Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jerry Blair said his office had not been contacted about the situation and he had no plans to pursue it.
"If the school chooses not to refer that to us, I have no problem with that," Blair said.
The hunting guns case marks the second time this year that a Dixie County student has been banned from school for 10 days for a firearm violation.
"We had a kid bring a skateboard to school and they are prohibited, too, so the administrator walked that child to their car and when the trunk was opened to put the skateboard inside, they saw a muzzle loader," Bennett said, referring to single-shot hunting weapon.
"That was a kid who had just forgot the firearm was there and had no intention of taking it out of the car at school and he was suspended for 10 days, too."
Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

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