Last month, Lassiter High School student Cody Chitwood faced a felony charge after being accused of violating the zero-tolerance law for weapons at Georgia schools. On Tuesday, however, he learned that a Cobb County District attorney plans to dismiss the felony charge in exchange for enrollment in a pretrial diversion program.
Last month, Chitwood's after-school hobby of fishing is what led to the search of his vehicle, parked in Lassiter High School's parking lot, on Sept. 17. When police canines found fishing knives in his 1998 BMW 328i, Chitwood was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds, a felony. He also faced a 10-day suspension from school, which he recently completed.
During a hearing with his attorney Joel Pugh and District Attorney Vic Reynolds on Tuesday, Chitwood agreed to the pretrial diversion program, which may entail community service and periodical drug tests. Once he completes the program, the felony charge will be dropped, allowing the 17-year-old senior to continue with his plans to join the Air Force upon graduation.
Chitwood's attorney, Pugh, stated that there were not any issues in getting Chitwood into the program and dropping the felony charge, as Chitwood, according to Pugh, had no intention of harming anyone.
“My client had no intent to do anything wrong. He’s a good kid. It was simply a mistake. He’s an avid fisherman and he forgot he had those knives in the car, and had absolutely no intent to harm anyone or break any school rules whatsoever." said Pugh.
This incident has sparked a reason to looking into changing Georgia's zero-tolerance law, according to Reynolds. He's currently working with state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, along with others, to see what can be done to change the strict law in the event that another similar situation arises.