In Trenton, Ohio, a middle school student was threatened with a 10-day suspension for “liking” a picture of a pistol on the Instagram website with the caption “ready." Zachary Bowlin’s parents posted a photograph of the notice that read, “The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”
Marty Bowlin, the boy’s father, told local media that he was livid with anger over the suspension notice. He said that his son had never made any threatening post on the site but had merely “liked” the picture of the pistol.
The pistol in question is an airsoft gun, which fires nearly harmless plastic pellets that resemble BBs. The boy’s parents said that their son had not commented on the post. Zachary Bowlin had “liked” the airsoft gun at about 8 p.m. one evening and was called out on the carpet at school on the next day. He told a local news station that he was called to the school’s office where he was patted down and checked for weapons.
The school has since dropped the suspension threat, according to the family, and will not impose sanctions. On Friday morning, parents of students attending the school received an email stating:
“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”
School Superintendent Russ Fussnecker sent a message to Fox 19 news, stating that the school board has ‘zero tolerance’ of any violent, disruptive, and other inappropriate behavior by students. He wrote that the social media post of the gun bore the caption “Ready”, followed by the liking of the post by another student. His statement said, “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.” Fussnecker wrote that “any social media threat will be taken serious [sic] including those who ‘like’ the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.”
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