Middle Schooler Suspended for 10 Days for ‘Liking’ Pellet Gun Photo on Instagram

It used to be that if a kid ate his pop tart into a shape that even vaguely resembled a gun, or if he pointed his finger and said ‘pow,’ that would get him suspended. Schools these days take a hard line approach to preventing violence to protect the student body. From pop tart ‘guns.’ And assault fingers.

It’s even gone further than that. A 13-year-old student at Edgewood Middle School in Ohio had the audacity to ‘like’ a photo on Instagram of a pellet hand gun. The caption under the photo was ‘Ready.’

It was one evening last week when he hit the ‘like’ button under the photo. “I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock, I liked it,” Zachary Bowlin said.

The offensive gun picture in question. Officials said the image represented ‘potential school violence.’

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The next morning after Bowlin had ‘liked’ the gun photo, school officials had him come to the principal’s office. They patted him down for weapons and let him know that he’d been suspended.

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The note they sent home with him to his parents mentioned this as the reason for the 10-day suspension, “Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”

Bowlin’s parent’s are predictably livid. “It was 10 days suspension with the possibility of expulsion. I’m like, ‘For liking a gun? Did he make a comment or threat or anything?,'” Bowlin’s father, Marty, told WLWT. “And it’s like, ‘No. He just liked a picture.’ I’m like, ‘Well, this can’t happen.'”

And just as predictably, the school district is standing behind their decision. “When you’re dealing with school districts nowadays and there are pictures of guns, regardless of the kind of gun it is, it’s a gun,” Edgewood City Schools Superintendent Russ Fussnecker told WLWT. “I cannot just turn my head and act as if, well, I think it may have been playful and take the chance that something happens,” Fussnecker said. “I can’t take a chance.” (AOL)

Here’s what the Superintendent told Fox 19:

“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. 

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.”

Apparently, the school has dropped the suspension, since the gun in question shot only airsoft pellets.

Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

I’m not sure what’s worse. That he got suspended for ‘liking’ a pellet gun photo, or the fact that school officials are watching everyone’s social media activity like a hawk, 24/7.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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