Lassiter student arrested for knife at school
by Leo Hohmann
September 25, 2013 12:42 AM | 26407 views | 64 64 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lassiter High School (from the school's web site)
Lassiter High School (from the school's web site)
slideshow
Cody Chitwood
Cody Chitwood
slideshow

For the second time in two weeks, another Cobb high school student has been arrested and charged with breaking a zero-tolerance weapons law after a search of his vehicle turned up a knife.

Cody Chitwood, 17, is a senior at Lassiter High School, and an avid fisherman.

He went fishing at his favorite spot, Mountain Park off Highway 92 and Mabry Road several days before and left his two fishing poles and tackle box in his car.

Little did he know that Lassiter administrators would order a K-9 search of the parking lot on Sept. 17 and a dog would hit on his car.

The dog apparently picked up a scent of black powder because Chitwood also had several firecrackers in his trunk, left over from a Fourth of July celebration. That was enough for police to order a thorough search of his 1998 BMW 328i.

They found four knives, all of them with blades of at least 2.5 inches, according to the arrest warrant. Three of them, including a fillet knife and a spring-assisted knife, were inside his tackle box in the trunk. A butterfly knife was found inside the pocket of the driver’s side door.

“I enjoy fishing. I go fishing probably once a week, sometimes twice a week,” said Chitwood, who has been suspended for 10 days by Lassiter Principal Chris Richie. “I just forgot that it was in there. I had my fishing poles in the car, too.”

He was charged with carrying a weapon in a school safety zone, which is a felony in Georgia.

Chitwood said that no drugs or other contraband were found in his car.

School officials do not talk about individual disciplinary cases but zero-tolerance laws are strictly enforced.

The random K-9 searches of student parking lots are done at least once or twice a year at all Cobb high schools.

“The cop and the administrators, they basically told me, ‘You’re going to be in a lot of trouble,’” Chitwood said. “They were pretty nice, but the K-9 unit guy wasn’t really very nice.”

Chitwood said the campus officer and the administrators told him, “Instead of making a scene out of you, we’ll put a warrant out for you and you can turn yourself in at the jail.’”

He turned himself in Sept. 18 and was released later the same day after posting bond of $1,000 plus $320 in fees.

He said his parents, Don and Robin Chitwood of northeast Cobb, have hired an attorney, Joel Pugh of Marietta.

Chitwood said he has never had any previous run-ins with the law.

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Chitwood said of the charges.

As for his parents, Chitwood said, “They think it’s absolutely ridiculous, too.”

Chitwood said he plans to enter the U.S. Air Force after graduation.

“I have an attorney and I’m hoping to get the felony dropped so I can still get in the Air Force,” he said.

On Sept. 5, another Cobb County high school student, Andrew Williams, 18, was arrested at Allatoona High in Acworth and charged with the same crime of “carrying a weapon in a school safety zone.” Williams’ car was searched after a fellow student accused him of smoking marijuana in his car. That triggered a search by an assistant principal, who found no marijuana but did find a pocket knife in the center console. Williams’ family has also hired an attorney to fight the charges.

 

Comments
(64)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Knife Maker
|
October 29, 2013
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea - "the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty" Such was considered a most basic rule of law for the last few thousand years... but I guess we are smarter than that now... God help us.
K.E. French
|
October 14, 2013
All this is doing is criminalizing otherwise innocent people. Law enforcement, the school admin. and anyone else involved- I think YOU are a damn joke and hope it happens to YOU. You see, this policy is foolish and created by fools and only fools play into this game, and that's all it is is a game. I have no respect for law enforcement- they lost that. The best thing you can do as a parent is get your CHILD OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. They will demonize your children, they will lie to them, harm them and make them outlaws. Screw this system, screw LEO's- you're the bad guys and Americans are seeing this truth. One last thing, stop declaring WAR on the youth of my nation, or war is what you'll get. Just remember they'll be taking care of you and making the laws when you dumb asses are old and tired. Americans need to clean their rifles and draw the battle lines.

Gun packing, white male, Christian.
U.S.Patriot 001
|
October 11, 2013
to the school; STUPID,STUPID,STUPID

to the student; SAD,SAD,SAD
Sherry Messer
|
October 09, 2013
The cop that made the "Arrest" needs to get a real job. With all the crime going on in this country, this is the only thing this cop to find to do. I feel the cop was sleeping and this young man just happen to be minding his own business and the cop had to make "his ticket limit" and end of story. The people in your home town need to have a protect and get this off your file!
Ned W
|
October 08, 2013
Thank heavens we have diligent LEOs keeping students safe from tackle boxes in the trunk of student fishermen.

This is a great lesson for all students at that school.

Your state, school, and police department is administered by tyrants, and this, and more, is what you have to look forward to in the near future.

Oh yeah - by now, your "debt" owed to the country is probably around $64,000 bucks.

So kids, remember the 64,000 dollar question. The answer, however, is pretty complicated.

Perhaps you will find the answer. Your parents and grandparents let you down.

Sean Ramer
|
October 05, 2013
Thank God we have the government here to violate people's rights and protect us from the dangers of an avid fisherman and his fillet knife. I for one feel safer knowing this menace to society is getting his due. I mean, "no criminal record" and then he pulls a stunt like this? PSH, what's next, jaywalling? Obviously a future delinquent in training.
Sflm
|
October 05, 2013
The ruining his future is the intent of his school district. Such is the norm for white, liberal school administrations. Leftist, zero-tolerance policies are the tools of cultureless white liberals who want to strip all unique identity from young people. And to punish those who dare be different.

They hate nothing more than a young person having activities that teach them self-sufficiency and this 'zero-tolerance' concerning the knives he had is about much more than just "breaking rules". In these days, the average empty-headed leftist doesn't know the difference between a rule and a law.
anonymous
|
October 10, 2013
As troubling as the story is, more troubling is the mindless commentary after the story sent in by readers seriously saying that it is a problem caused by “liberal” administrators. First of all, as everyone knows the liberals in East Cobb are few and far between. There are, to my knowledge, no Democrats elected to any county-wide position, and few if any Democratic legislators from Cobb. I know it is possible to be a liberal and a Republican, but that is rare…
Jim Beaux
|
October 04, 2013
Inside every liberal is a ignorant, cruel tyrant trying to get out.
GEAH
|
October 05, 2013
Trying? They're out!
anonymous
|
October 04, 2013
so have they arrested the lunch room ladies yet?
Guido5
|
September 26, 2013
Since when do we pass criminal laws that disregard the intent of the suspect?

Zero tolerance laws cater to the lazy.
FROM TEXAS
|
September 26, 2013
Just another example of overreaching nanny state in a so-called Red State; this kid probably hunts and fishes a lot is actually going to grow up and be a man. The kind liberals don’t mind sending to the Mideast to get killed and give him a gun. Sound like just another illegal search and seizer in the Peoples States of America. Go ahead turn another true American into a felon it’s the Democratic way. If he had had a Barbie and some kiddy porn they probably would have passed on that.
America!!
|
September 29, 2013
Hell yeah man, well said.
GABlueStarMom
|
October 03, 2013
You are 100% Correct!
anonymous
|
October 08, 2013
Are you kidding me?? Wasn't it President Bush who chose to invade Iraq and Afghanistan!?? Obama finally got our boys home! Morons. If there's one thing us liberals are always reminded of, it's how stupid most Republicans are with the facts.
J13234
|
October 08, 2013
Are you effing kidding me!? Are you idiot conservatives that dumb that you forget it was Bush who chose to invade Iraq and Afghanistan?? One thing you guys never fail to do is let us "liberals" forget how dumb you are when it comes to the facts!

And here's one more fact for you. It was under President Obama's watch that the last American soldier left Iraq. And the same is happening in Afghanistan.

If you want to blame the Dems for taking away your guns, which they aren't, then go ahead. But don't you dare blame us for sending our troops to war. We know you're dumber than sh#t, you don't need to keep reminding us though.
FROM TENNESSEE
|
October 08, 2013
Liberal sending them to the Mideast and give him a gun. Are you delusional. Well of course you are. No question about it. No one was sent to the Mideast under Bush and those conservatives. Were they?
Suck it lefties
|
October 09, 2013
Whats all the "Are you kidding me" stuff all about. We all know that in 2003, Bush invaded Iraq. It is the fact that O said he would bring them home. They may be out of Iraq but they aren't out of Afghanistan and they are still dying everyday. 5 this weekend. This is on your president. The only stupid people here are the lefties trying to justify the sense in all of this. Funny thing is that this story is about a boy who likes to fish and had a tackle box in his car with the necessary things that are in every tackle box. Not war. Just like a lefty to argue something completely random. These "weapons" weren't removed from his trunk and taken into the school. He wasn't bragging about having a weapon nor has he been in trouble with the law before. You cannot justify the actions of the school officials and LEO's in any way.
Retiree1
|
September 25, 2013
I have a couple of questions. Do these schools still have biology classes where students disect frogs or other creatures? How do they do this if not with knives? When they are holding a knife aren't they "in possession" of it under the law? What about art classes? No more wood cuts or linoleum cuts for art prints? And what about scissors? What is the difference between a knife and a pair of scissors, which is essentially 2 knives screwed together? Can Art and Biology and Shop teachers possess knives for their classes? Aren't they on school property? What good are such tools if the students can't use them? What about screw drivers for shop class or for taking computers apart?
dealmaster
|
October 03, 2013
well said
Art Vanderlay
|
October 04, 2013
Animal disections are done with scalpels, not 4" butterfly knives.
Redress of Grievance
|
September 25, 2013
What these two cases (knives on school property) demonstrate is that we the people elect (and re-elect) morons and buffoons to make our laws and govern our daily activities. Here within just a few days we read two stories of seemingly upright young men caught in a circumstance that might just ruin their lives. But we also read that "Gangs" have taken over the schools and there is nothing that can be done. Friends and neighbors this is pure lunacy! We have got to rid ourselves of these morons and buffoons who are ruining our lives, liberty and happiness with their insane and warped perspective on how we the people should be governed.
Hope Attny Wins
|
September 25, 2013
For those of you who want the kid to be punished for forgetting a rule, you probably are unaware of exactly what a felony will mean on his record. It will completely steal his future. Completely. For this giant "sin" of liking fishing, his whole future will be mortgaged. That is not fair. That is not right. That is horrible, horrible, horrible.

I hope his parents hired the best attorney they could possibly hire. I'd call my senators and congressman, too. Every single person. They must be his advocate. Nothing is expunged for a 17 year old either in Georgia.
Darth Bunny
|
September 25, 2013
There was common sense in this incident: the officer sought a warrant rather than a " take down". Hopefully our new DA will decide on some form of diversion after young Cody's parents make a few mortgage payments to Mr. Pugh and we can all remind our children to leave their tackle boxes at home. The most dangerous implements at the school are the cars, not the knives.
Blame Legislators
|
September 25, 2013
Some of you are commenting about common sense being needed. That's the problem with zero tolerance laws, they don't allow for common sense. School officials have their hands tied. The law requires them to report stuff like this. No one was complaining years ago when the zero tolerance laws were passed, they were stupid then and they are now. This kid clearly didn't commit a felony but he has to be charged. Lets hope that a judge will use discretion when this case goes to trial(or will mandatory sentences kick in and screw the kid more?).
2nd Amend. supporter
|
September 25, 2013
Some of you are just so hypocritical. The rules are the rules. All students are made aware of these rules at high schools and there are signs posted everywhere indicating "ZERO TOLERANCE". They sign saying they are aware of it when they get their parking permits. The kid messed up. PERIOD. It is not the administrators fault nor the officers fault for the kid breaking the law. It is the kids fault. If the taxpayers wants the rules changed so that you can bring knives, then change the rules so that you can bring knives. Just last week, it was published that there is gang activity in every single CCSD high school. Oh how quickly you all would be tooting your horns, had one of these students actually used their weapons prior to getting caught with them. While this student probably is NOT a troublemaker, many times, the students involved with weapon issues at school are not. I myself, proudly support and promote the 2nd Amendment....but schools are not the place for just anyone to be allowed to bring weapons. Quit making excuses for these people that break the law. YOu have the power to change the law if you don't like it.....but don't get upset with people for enforcing it.
deepsea fisherman
|
September 25, 2013
There is a difference between willful disreguard for the law, and a teenager forgetting his fishing tackle (tools, not weapons) in the trunk of his car. It is no wonder the United States of America has the highest percentage of its populous incarcerated than any other nation. Let the rapist out early so we can lock up the fishermen.
dealmaster
|
October 03, 2013
There is a legal tenet that state the intent of the law supercedes the letter of the law. That would apply in this case. This is a kid. I hope no one here wants to see his life possible greatly negatively affected. This is just wrong.
Art Vanderlay
|
October 04, 2013
Mr Deepsea Fisherman (if that is your real name), you obviously didn't read the original article, or you would have read the part about the butterfly knife in the pocket of the driver's side door. Sorry, but I've never used a butterfly knife to clean my fish.
Anonymous JDL
|
October 05, 2013
The spirit of the law is important, and labeling this kid a felon because he left some tools in his car is unjustified. We have no social obligation to follow unjustified laws. To simply say the law is the law ignores the problem that these zero tolerance laws create.

You do make a good point in one regard, though. He already got in trouble for having a knife in his car once. As dumb as the law is, you would think that he would be extra careful to not let it happen again, simply out of self-preservation. The kid's not too bright, but he's no criminal.

Also, I think the biggest problem in our society is we DO NOT have the power to change the laws. The majority of this country wants to see the war on drugs stopped, marijuana legalized, the Patriot Act overturned, Homeland Security and NSA abolished, domestic spying stopped, wars stopped, drone strikes stopped, prison populations reduced, and our tax code reformed, but do we get any of these things despite of our protests? No. Not one damn politician actually represents what the American people want. So no, I don't think it's OK to just sit back and say "Well I guess I have to do whatever our masters say because we chose these laws" when we never chose these laws.
Diamond Jim
|
September 25, 2013
The way we get this taken care of is to contact state legislators and get the law changed. Do you know who yours is" If not, find out and call them TODAY! This madness has got to stop, along with these totally illegal searches and seizures with no warrant and no probable cause. (Did the dog also smell fish in his car??)

Secondly, call and/or write the Chairman of the Cobb school board and find out what action the board plans to take to stop searches of private vehicles. If the response is not satisfactory, then work to find suitable candidates and vote the current board out of office! Just sitting around whining and writing letters to the MDJ is not going to solve the problem!!
Ignis
|
September 25, 2013
Probable cause isn't applicable in schools... New Jersey vs. TLO.
Anonymous JDL
|
October 05, 2013
Yes, because contacting our legislators and representatives has been so successful in the past. Look at how easily The People were able to end wars, end the Patriot Act, stop domestic spying, remove power from the NSA, stop the War on Drugs, legalize marijuana, reform our tax codes, and get our politicians to spend money more responsibly through voting, protests, and writing letters to them. It's great that we live in a democracy where we are fairly represented.
anonymous
|
September 25, 2013
Let's not forget that they want to emasculate our young men as well. Sorry, but I gave my 8 year old son a pocket knife for Christmas last year, as well as a Daisy pellet gun. He will learn to be a man, to defend our country, defend his home, be resourceful. He will also learn about the leftist agenda, unreasonable bureaucrats, overpaid school superintendents and third world areas of the county where gang violence and thugs are the cause of good kids like him being penalized. I don't care if this is politically correct or not. School administrators should know who the good kids are. Maybe if they even knew the kids (schools are so big) we wouldn't have this problem.
Amen!!
|
September 25, 2013
Well said!! I plan to do the same with my kids.
Just Wait
|
September 25, 2013
What kind of new generation is being raised when kids assume the rules don't apply to them, when the public defends kids who break the rules because no one was injured or killed and when parents hire attorneys to defend these kids who should have a very basic understanding of zero tolerance?
anonymous
|
September 25, 2013
This is laughable. I can name three presidents in the last few years who set the example that some laws shouldn't be followed.

If the kid was in a special interest group, this law might not apply to him. His infraction would certainly be hidden.

Watcher...
|
September 25, 2013
Zero Tolerance = NO BRAINS!

"ZT" is an escape mechanism the allows Bureaucrats to escape decision making!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides