ROBERTA, GA – Plans by three students at Crawford County High School to come to school dressed for the holidays resulted in a visit from the police and suspension from class when a Facebook post aroused suspicion.
John George III, a student at the school in central Georgia, and a couple friends planned on showing up on the last day of school before Christmas break as Santa Clause and two elves. In preparation for this, John posted a bit of hint on his Facebook page:
“Students of cchs ur in for a big surprise tomorrow <let the games begin>”
When a parent of another student saw the post, the result was far from what the students intended. Alarmed by the cryptic nature of the post, that parent notified the local police. A police officer looked at John’s Facebook page and concluded that it looked Gothic and dark leading him to be concerned about the message.
That same night, two police offers visited John and his parent to question them about the Facebook post. John explained to them the plans to dress as Santa and his parents then confirmed his statement and showed the officers that John had recently purchased the Santa costume. John also told the officers that one of his teachers knew of his plans and could attest to his story.
Though satisfied there was no danger, the police cautioned John about his wording on his post and how it could be interpreted wrong. In their report, they wrote:
“We then spoke briefly about the nature of the post and how with the recent tragedy of school shootings that had occurred that the post could cause unrest if taken the wrong way. We then left the residence without further incident.”
But that wasn’t the end of John George’s troubles. Mike Campbell, principal of the high school, felt more caution should be taken than exhibited by the police at the George home. As a result he called the police the next morning and asked them to intercept John when he arrived at school the next day. Police officers found John in the morning and took him to the principal’s office where Campbell suspended him from school pending an investigation by the school’s investigators.
In a press release, the principal said that in light of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School the Facebook post was disturbing and warranted further investigation. The George family told a local news reporter that the whole affair was ridiculous. The parents are somewhat distraught and say the school has unfairly damaging their son’s reputation.
The incident should serve as a warning to Facebook users to be very careful of what or how they say things on their posts. This is an overactive age in which doing anything, no matter how misguided the effort may be, is seen as better than letting common sense prevail.