Parents and classmates are calling for the expulsion of a charter school student who posted a picture of himself holding a BB gun on Snapchat.
The photo depicts the teenager, a student at Imagine South Vero Charter School in Vero Beach, Florida, taking a selfie with his iPhone while wearing a black ski mask and holding what appears to be a handgun in his other hand, WPTV reports. The photo was captioned with the message, "Goin 2 the shootin range today (school)."
School administrators brought the photo to the attention of the Indian County Sheriff's Department in late February.
After investigators from the department visited the student's home, however, they found that the gun in the picture was a BB gun and that there were no actual firearms in the home, according to TC Palm. At the end of the police investigation, the district attorney's office found that the photo did not constitute a credible threat and declined to file charges against the student.
The student reportedly received a school suspension.
"He was punished by his parents and he was punished by the school," said Lt. Eric Flowers, a spokesman for the Indian County Sheriff's Department, according to TC Palm.
On March 8, however, the photo surfaced again when someone posted it to Facebook along with a message questioning the student's lenient punishment and asking if parents at the charter school felt comfortable with the student being allowed to return to school.
The post was shared 500 times between noon and 6 p.m. on March 8, according to TC Palm.
After the Facebook post brought the photo to the public's attention, many parents and students at Imagine South are now calling for the student's expulsion.
"I know this stuff goes around all the time. I know kids think it's cool or make cracks, but the reality is you don't know which one is actually going to be the kid to blow up and start shooting at school," one parent told WPTV.
"There [are] a lot of kids that texted and [called] their parents when they saw this child back at school," the parent continued. "They said we don't want to be here with him, we don't want to be here at all. He may do something."
Parents said they planned to protest at the school on March 9.
The school's principal, Chris Rock, sent out this official statement to parents through email on March 8, according to WPTV:
As your partner in education, there is nothing more important than the safety and health of our students. That’s why I am writing to share with you information about an incident that occurred this week. One of our students made a social media post that might be considered threatening. In accordance with our policies, we conducted an internal review of the situation. We also contacted local authorities, who conducted an independent investigation. The results from both inquiries deemed this threat not credible.
Based upon our policies, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action regarding the student involved.
Parents, I want to reassure you that proper actions were taken and no students were injured. I encourage you to use these facts in answering questions or concerns your child may have. Please also use this as an opportunity to remind your child that actions have consequences, and it is important we keep our school environment safe and focused on academic success.
Should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly. As always, thank you for the privilege of partnering with you to educate your child at Imagine South Vero.