An Ohio student was suspended from school for “liking” a particular photo on Instagram. Seventh grader Zachary Bowlin was given a ten-day suspension from Edgewood Middle School for liking a picture of a gun on the social media site with the caption, “ready.”
According to FOX19, Bowlin’s parents received a note that cited reason for the suspension as, “Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”
“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock I liked it,” Bowlin said. “The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons.”
The gun in the photo is reportedly an airsoft gun that shoots pellets. The 13-year-old’s parents were angry about the suspension. “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.'”
The school, however, stands by taking precaution right away. “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 said.
“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 continued. “I can’t take a chance.” The suspension was for both Bowlin and the boy who took the photo. Once Fussnecker found out the gun was for pellets, it was revoked. Bowlin can return to school without penalty.
Fussnecker told FOX 19 in a statement:
“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.”