More than 20 students at a North Carolina school were suspended over a March 20 Instagram post that referenced a school shooting.
Bradford Preparatory School in Charlotte, North Carolina, suspended the students responsible for the post, which mentioned a school shooting but did not make a specific threat, according to WCNC. Students who liked the post are reportedly facing punishment as well.
The post in question was a photo of two students with the caption, "Bradford gon have a school shooter one day," along with two laughing emojis.
"We became aware of a threat made against the school this morning," Bradford administrators said in a statement sent out to parents and guardians on March 20, according to WCNC. "We take all threats seriously and immediately engaged law enforcement. The students involved have been detained and the situation has been mitigated. As always, student and staff safety is our number one priority."
Parents of students who were suspended over liking the post are reportedly upset with the school.
"My daughter was one of 20 plus students that liked the post," one parent told WCNC. "She was being suspended for three days and couldn't return until Monday due to the fact that she was endorsing a threat against the school."
"None of us are happy with the decision," she added. "We feel like this is going to follow our kids."
Bradford officials reportedly told the parent that the suspension for endorsing a threat would remain on her daughter's record until graduation.
"Twenty plus students could've learned a lesson today, not necessarily been sent out of school for three days," she said.
In a similar situation from September 2016, two freshman girls at Findlay High School in Ohio were suspended and faced both expulsion and criminal charges after posting a photo on Instagram which was deemed threatening, WTOL reported.
The image shows the girls holding toy guns and a sign that reads: "I hate everyone, you hate everyone. Let's shoot up the school at homecoming." Text set above the image reads: "If school shooting was a sport. America would get the gold," with a skull emoji.
Findlay High administrators took the post as a threat.
"As a school district, we take it very seriously and we're going to make sure that this is dealt with and that discipline is carried out," Superintendent Ed Kurt told WTOL.
"Once it's posted it never goes away, so you need to think about what you're posting," advised Principal Craig Kupferberg.