There are 270+ million firearms in the United States — and, apparently, “liking” a picture of one could get you a two-week school suspension.
A student at Edgewood Middle School in Trenton, Ohio, was handed a 10-day suspension for “liking” the photo of an airsoft gun on Instagram.
The photo of the airsoft gun was captioned, “Ready.”
The student — Zachary Bowlin — “liked” the photo while at home one night and was called to the school’s office the next morning, searched for firearms, and given the suspension.
Fox 19 NOW quoted Zachery saying, “I liked [the photo], scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock I liked it. The next morning, they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons.”
An email was sent to school parents which said:
Yesterday evening school officials were made aware to an alleged threat of a student bringing a gun to school. We act on any potential threat to student safety swiftly and with the utmost importance. This morning, the alleged threat was addressed and we can assure you that all students at Edgewood Middle School are safe and school will continue as normal. Thank you.
Zachery’s father, Marty, said, “I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking ‘you just suspended him for ten days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site.” Marty stressed, “[Zachery] never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post… anything on the site, just liked it.”
School superintendent Russ Fussnecker sent a statement to Fox 19 NOW, which said:
Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption “Ready”, and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows:
The Board has a “zero tolerance” of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students.
Furthermore, the policy states:
Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process.
As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious including those who “like” the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.
Following Fussnecker’s defense of the suspension, the school did an about-face and actually cancelled the suspension. Yet many students around the country — including students as young as four years old — have faced suspensions over zero-tolerance policies, and those suspensions have not been dropped.
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