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Students Fight to #FreeShep - KOAM TV 7

Students Fight to #FreeShep

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI - If you're not on Facebook and/or Twitter.. rest assured, your kids are.

And students at Carthage High School have been taking to social media this week, with the hashtag #FreeShep

Posts, along with a protest Thursday morning, all center around the punishment a student faces after leaving a disassembled shotgun in his car while at school.  

Allegedly forgetting about his weapon after a hunting trip, Carthage High School baseball player, and soon to be graduating senior, Sawyer Shepherd was suspended from school for bringing a disassembled shotgun on high school grounds

"One of our students made a mistake," District Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said. "And there are some federal and state laws out there that address this kind of thing. So were going to proceed through our processes, as we normally would."  

No criminal action is being taken against Shepherd. But school officials still need to make a judgement.  

"The laws specify the student should be suspended up to one year," Henningsen said. "[But] different kind of consequence can be assessed on a case-by case basis," 

Out-of-school suspension extends to all school-related activities including baseball and walking at graduation.

In addition, school work can't be made up during suspension.  

Meaning more than just walking at graduation,  friends are worried about Shepherd being able to actually graduate.

"I honestly hope that his senior year isn't ruined by this," said one student. "I hope that he gets to graduate."

Henningsen says a final punishment has yet to be decided. But hopes to have the issue resolved in the coming days.

"We'll be as fair as we can. We have to enforce the policies of the school district but we're gonna use common sense and we're gonna be reasonable," Henningsen said. "And we'll reach a conclusion."

Shepherd and his family declined to comment on the matter.

Student protests are expected to continue Friday.

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