Social media. It can be a great tool for reconnecting with old friends and long lost family members. For one middle school student, however, it became a nightmare.
Edgewood Middle School student Zachary Bowlin of Trenton, Ohio was suspended for 10 days after ‘liking’ a photo of a gun on Instagram.
The notice Bowlin’s parents received explained why their son was being suspended: “The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”
The best part? It was an airsoft gun.
“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock I liked it,” Zachary FOX 19“The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons.”
“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,” father Marty Bowlin recounted. “He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post… anything on the site, just liked it.”
The school dropped the suspension but sent an email to parents recounting the situation:
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.
Seriously? A threat of bringing a gun to school? What if *gasp* the student went to the gun range with his parents? Does that make him the next school shooter?
I understand wanting to protect students from any potential threat, especially the threat of a shooter on campus but this is just overkill.
Of course, the Superintendent doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with the school administration’s actions. This is the statement FOX 19 was provided with:
“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.”
Watch FOX 19‘s coverage of the incident: