A middle school student in Trenton, Ohio, was given a 10-day suspension for liking a photo of a gun on social media.
Zachary Bowlin, who attends the seventh grade at Edgewood Middle School, liked a photo shared on Instagram of an airsoft gun that included the caption, "Ready," WXIX reports.
Zachary did not comment on the photo.
"I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock I liked it," he said. "The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons."
Zachary's parents shared a picture of the suspension notice which read, "The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence."
"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 ... anything on the site, just liked it."
On Facebook, Zachary's mother, Cindy Martin, expressed her anger over the suspension:
This sickens me! Not anywhere on the boys Instagram post did it say anything about taking a gun to school. This is a bunch of s*** if I ever seen any....... SMH. People wake up and teach your children right from wrong and teach them not to blow s*** out of proportion. Now 2 innocent harmless boys got in trouble over some pansy cry bag making s*** up!
Parents of children who attend Edgewood Middle School received the following email:
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.
Superintendent Russ Fussnecker issued a statement to WXIX:
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.
The school decided to drop the suspension against Zachary, and there will be no repercussions for him liking the photo.
"Zach is not in any trouble whatsoever, nothing of this matter will be on his school record, it will be like it never ever happened," Cindy wrote on Facebook, according to the Daily Mail. "He got to go back to school, he gets to attend his dance and all other school functions."