Riley Knotts talks about being able to return to school and graduate

WTAP speaks with Riley Knotts and Jackson Co. Schools superintendent Will Hosaflook after the decision made on Tuesday.
Riley Knotts reacts to decision to let him back into school
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 7:58 PM EDT
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RIPLEY, W.Va. (WTAP) - Riley Knotts is a Ripley high school senior, who on April 17th, had been removed from school after a firearm was found in a car he parked on school grounds. The car belonged to his grandfather and Riley said he didn’t know the gun was in the car.

From that day on until Tuesday evening, Riley had missed over a week of school and his senior prom.

He is coming back to school next week after an executive meeting with Jackson County Schools on Tuesday. He had a big group of supporters outside of the school board office.

“I tell you what, I have never seen anything like it before. It was awesome, it really was. There’s no other way to describe it. It was amazing,” says Knotts. “I never imagined in my life that there’d be that many people there.”

Jackson Co. Schools superintendent Will Hosaflook said he knows riley is a good kid.

“I’ve known Riley a long time,” says Hosaflook. “I remember my first experience with Riley was in he was in fifth grade, my daughter was in fourth grade, they were both in the Ripley Elementary School talent show. And Riley was up there singing and playing the banjo and my daughter was dribbling basketballs. And at that moment, I knew he was a special young man.”

Riley will also be able to walk at graduation. That’s something he said he promised his grandparents he would do.

“Oh, it means a lot to me,” says Knotts. “Because I’ve worked hard to get to the point where I’m at right now to be able to walk across that stage at graduation. And I made a promise to my grandpa and my grandma -- who’s no longer with us -- that I’d walk across that stage. And it’s more symbolic than anything but it still means a lot.”

Riley said he is thankful for the community’s support, including Ripley police and the Jackson County school board for, as riley says -- understanding that he is human.

He will be going to a prom that is being put on by the community during the second weekend of May.