Cherokee High School senior arrested on gun charge

Jeff Bobo • Apr 25, 2007 at 11:39 AM

ROGERSVILLE - A good kid made a bad decision Wednesday at Cherokee High School that will land him in alternative school for the remainder of his high school career, school officials said.

As a result of a search in the school parking lot Wednesday morning, school officials found a shotgun in the vehicle of CHS senior Justin Tyler Luster, 18, 1430 Beech Creek Road, Rogersville.

Aside from closing out his high school career in alternative school, the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office charged Luster with carrying a weapon on school grounds.

Hawkins County Director of Schools Clayton Armstrong was quick to point out Wednesday that there was no threat to students at school, the shotgun was never in the school building, and Luster had no ill intentions for the shotgun.

Apparently Luster was planning on going turkey hunting after school and had the shotgun hidden out of view in his vehicle.

Armstrong said that under the zero-tolerance policy, he could have expelled Luster for one calendar year and ruined the boy's chances of graduating with his class next month. In this case, such a punishment wasn't merited, Armstrong said.

"This is an excellent student, never been in any trouble, never any malice," Armstrong said. "The parents understand completely that this is a zero-tolerance issue and he will be charged for having a weapon on school property. It was very poor judgment on his part.

"The school did a very thorough investigation, and they feel that there was no malice, no ill intent, no ill feelings against anyone. It's turkey season, and he was going hunting."

Luster apparently discussed his hunting plans with some classmates Wednesday morning and mentioned that he had brought his gun with him. Someone overheard that and reported it to school officials.

Although Luster will be in alternative school for the remainder of the year, Armstrong said that shouldn't prevent him from graduating with his class.

"He was in my office this afternoon," Armstrong said. "He was very remorseful and very apologetic about what happened. He's very bright, and the school is as upset as a parent would be because he's a very good student.

"It's just one of those things - he made a stupid mistake. But this is a zero-tolerance issue, and we had to act responsibly and report it to law enforcement."

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