According to The Hollywood Reporter, A Wisconsin high school student who wore a Darth Vader costume to school sparked an evacuation after a parent mistook the costume for a bulletproof vest.
Ashwaubenon High School, near Green Bay, was reportedly put on lock down and then evacuated after a parent saw the boy and thought that his Star Wars-themed costume was body armor to protect him from bullets. Police were also called to the school over the incident.
Police officer said:
“The student was wearing a Darth Vader outfit with a plastic mask and was carrying a bag with him, and that outfit looked like he might be wearing a bulletproof vest or a flak jacket. That, with wearing that mask and walking into the back door of the school, made a person very concerned. And we expect that to happen. We sure hope that people would call when this stuff takes place.”
“We believe it was an innocent mistake right now,” said the officer. May 4 has been popularized as “Star Wars Day,” because of the date’s similarity to the series’ iconic phrase, “May the force be with you.” In a Facebook post addressed to families and staff, the Ashwaubenon school district said that there had been a “possible threat” at the high school.
The school district said:
“Ashwaubenon Public Safety was called and we evacuated the High School. Parkview Middle School and the Community Center, where some students were taking an AP test, were put into lockdown.”
After Public Safety did a sweep of the high school, authorities determined that “there was no threat.”
“Thanks for your understanding as we maintain our number one priority of keeping students safe,” wrote the district.
A Facebook user said in response to the school district’s post:
“I hope the overzealous Star Wars fan does not get into so much trouble that it affects his future. He’s just a high school boy who made a poor apparel choice.”
After the story gained attention online, social media users criticized the overly cautious parent. “A kid walks into a school dressed in character in the spirit of Star Wars Day and the school goes on lockdown,” said one user on TMZ’s Facebook page. “Sadly, this is what the world has come to.”
Others simply found it amusing that the parent didn’t seem to recognize the popular character. “The real story here is she didn’t realize he was dressed as Darth Vader,” said another user. “Now that’s just sad!”
Another user on the school’s post defended the parent’s decision to err on the side of caution. “HELLO — if you are a parent that is sitting in a car across a parking lot you may only see someone in a mask looking suspicious not realizing it is a stupid stars wars costume,” the user wrote. “Ever hear of better safe than sorry!”