Smithwick Fights Lee County Schools
Wow! This is a nice little caveat in the North Carolina General Statute concerning weapons on school grounds.
“You hate to see anything like this happen to any teenager of that age, especially one that doesn’t have a track record of behavior,” said Womack.
However, the school district says Smithwick broke a rule and brought a weapon to school.
“There is a policy that is standard policy for us that we follow. It is pretty much zero tolerance,” said Lee County School Board Chairman Shawn Williams.
Smithwick faces criminal charges for bringing a weapon on school property. Court documents show that weapon was a paring knife. Ashley said she accidentally had the paring knife because she grabbed her dad’s lunch bag instead of hers. Officials say the school resource officer found the knife during a random search of students’ belongings.
In the North Carolina state law under the section for weapons on campus, NBC-17 found an exception for tools used solely for preparation of food. A paring knife by definition is a short-bladed kitchen knife for paring fruits and vegetables.
“The Smithwicks seemed to be victimized. By appearance they were victimized because their daughter unconsciously made a mistake,” said Womack.
If the Smithwicks decide to sue the school district, the district’s bill would be picked up by the taxpayer because the district does not have civil liability insurance.
Womack hopes a third party will be called to the table and resolve the incident without having to involve lawyers and courts.
Lee County Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Moss said last week he would not specifically comment about Smithwick’s situation because her mother had not signed a record release form. NBC-17 received a notarized release form from Smithwick’s mom, Heidi, and took it to the district. We are still waiting to get our hands on the records, but Dr. Moss said he will not be commenting any further.