Just “liking” a picture of a gun on social media can get a student suspended from school in New Jersey.
Zachary Bowlin discovered this the hard way when he was suspended from Edgewood Middle School for 10 days because he liked a picture of an airsoft gun on Instagram.
“The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence,” a note from the school to Bowlin’s parents read.
Bowlin liked the photo outside school hours.
“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about seven, eight o’clock I liked it,” Bowlin told Fox 19. “The next morning they called me down [to the office], patted me down and checked me for weapons.”
His father said Zachary never should have been suspended.
“I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking, ‘You just suspended him for 10 days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site,” Zachary’s father, Marty Bowlin, said. “He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post.”
The suspension was lifted after news media contacted Edgewood City Schools. Zachary will face no further discipline, but parents of students received an email from the district that indicted officials were responding to a threat. Superintendent Ross Fussnecker released the following statement to the media:
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.
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