Student Suspended For “Liking” a Photo of an Airsoft Gun on Instagram

Seventh-grader Zachary Bowlin last week was given a 10-day suspension from Edgewood Middle School [Ohio] for liking a picture of a gun on the social media site with the caption, “Ready.” Read more…

Source: News and FOX19

airsoft gun school suspension

The parents of Zachary Bowlin posted a picture of the intended 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 liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock, I liked it,” Bowlin told FOX19. “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 plastic pellets.

Instagram airsoft gun

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 News in Cincinnati, “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 told WLWT, “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 Once Fussnecker found out the gun was for pellets, it was revoked.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. The boy who posted the photo is reportedly still under suspension.

Fussnecker told FOX19 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 [sic] including those who ‘like’ the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.”


8 thoughts on “Student Suspended For “Liking” a Photo of an Airsoft Gun on Instagram”

  1. This has less to do with the “Board” and more to do with the personal dislike of any firearm by the Principal. And what gives the school the right to oversee a students online activities outside of the school environment. Sounds like an invasion of privacy and a violation of the students civil rights.

  2. In no way was that endangering, threatening or disruptive of the educational process weather a real gun or a toy. The puplic education system has been ruined and now they take it out on our children. What a shame .

  3. I think the possibility exists that the insane are running society.
    I addressed this “issue” in an article I wrote a number of years back.

    Sorry Johnny, you aren’t allowed to have a squirt gun in school or post a “like” on Instagram for a AIR SOFT pistol. Just wait a few years and you can join the Marines, go to far away distant lands with a government-issued Squad Automatic Weapon and kill people. But right now, Johnny, it isn’t ok for you to play “bang, your dead” with a cap gun or squirt gun. You have to grow up first and then you’re allowed to use F-16 fighter planes to drop REAL cluster bombs on school yards FULL of kids in Iraq , or who-knows-were next. You just have to be patient, Johnny . . . .

  4. Six month suspension for sling shot shooting raisins. Happened in Republican stronghold of Idaho. The cop handling case told me his boss thought he should have gotten a warrant and searched parents homes. I’ve seen enough Republican hypocrisies to just not trust them. Tired of their lies. If we keep voting for these two parties our country will just get sicker.

  5. You’ve got to be kidding me! He’d better suspend all of the rest of the students……just in case they ‘might” have thoughts of doing something disruptive. What a lilly-livered ignorant, out-of-touch, far-separated-from reality, liberal idiot! Let’s all chip in and build him a ‘safe place’ so that he won’t have to deal with this World’s realities….poor thing. Start living in the real World instead of your non-confrontational, non-denominational, unicorn World. There always has been and always will be dissent aND confrontation on some level.

  6. Isn’t the school system stalking it’s students by following their activity on social media outside of school hours? I hope the internet shuts down those social diseases like instagram and facebook. The kid’s parents should get a restraining order against the school system to stop stalking their kid online. He is, after all, a MINOR!
    The bullies in schools aren’t students. They are school teachers and administrators. Small minded people ruining kids lives one pathetic head game at a time!

  7. What really scares me is that schools with Idiot supers like this guy is what is educating our children. Too bad he’s the one that has not been educated.

  8. I have kids in school…

    My kids are well adjusted, morally, socially and academically high achieving.

    They get awards constantly, and the praise of peers and teachers.

    They volunteer hundreds of hours annually in organized and well documented charities.

    They are beautiful, motivated, independent young ladies.

    One of them dreams of becoming a federal prosecutor that targets sex traffickers and domestic slave owners.

    The other one is well on the way towards a future as an English teacher.

    Tragically if my kids were enrolled in this school district they would have been suspended many times over for posting their hunting and firearms marksmanship pictures!

    Of course I would be suing and enlisting the help of the NRA, the NSSF and every red-blooded American in a grass roots campaign against such unbridled destructive practices.

    I would be suing the school district for the emotional and developmental harm those suspensions have potentially caused to my child, as well as for the potential future counseling that will be required to keep my child from committing suicide or actually becoming what this school unilaterally imprinted onto my child’s mind as a future behavior probability.

    If they can assume a picture of a firearm leads to or is indicative of a future proclivity towards a criminal behavior, I as a parent can assume that their actions in effect label and introduce the very idea of said violence into my impressionable developing young child’s mind.

    As I think through this schools zero tolerance behavior, I can not help but feel frustration and concern for the direction of our country, and fear for my kids personal future.

    It is ironic that not many years ago, under zero tolerance laws, trusted police agencies condoned and lauded safety oriented zero tolerance practices, that allowed them to would stop minority looking individuals to investigate potential crime afoot, SIMPLY due to the color of the individuals skin in a given neighborhood! ( this was an extreme and unlawful extension of the otherwise lawful reasonable articulable suspicion concept. This blanket discrimination was praised by the very people we were supposed to trust most! It was wrong then, it is certainly wrong now within this school’s practice.)

    As lifetime Republican, I must oppose any totalitarian form of intrusion into our national, state and local government. Our nation is a Republic, and we must not allow those in positions of public trust to whitewash their personal political social engineering agenda under the guise of public safety or civic duty.

    That is what leads to horrible societies, including those that all certain types of slavery and open discrimination.

    Where am I coming from?

    I have a bi-racial family, and the first thing most folks see when meeting us is that my skin is brown and that my spouse has black skin and our kid’s skin is dark brown.

    Some folks assume based on the visual quality of our skin color,that we are liberal Democrats, and likely uneducated, and possibly criminally oriented. (We call that response ignorance based discrimination, or bias. )

    As it is, I have a Bachelors degree from our state university and my spouse has a Masters degree from Stanford no less!

    My profession is in law enforcement and my spouse is in corporate executive management.

    Our children are both female, and growing up in a large, primarily liberal, metropolitan city.

    My spouse and I have raised our daughters to be responsible, capable, contributing citizens.

    We have taken the time to teach them the appreciation of all life, guided them as they form self-respect and a keen sense of family and civic duty.

    We have traveled to the Capital expressly to see our national monuments, as we learn about our history, the founding fathers and mothers, our Constitution and Civil Rights.

    We regularly travel to great museums, national parks and cities, both large and small, in an effort to instill in our our children a love and passion for our country and society.

    We also regularly review firearms safety, and train marksmanship, and self-defense with our daughters, which is not only a legal and sane thing to do, but our Constitutional right, if not obligation.

    Yet this school would label such activities and interests an actionable offense!

    Zero tolerance program based discrimination and harm have lost in court when law enforcement and employers have implemented actions like these….these parents need to sue these educators and administrators and get them charged for professional misconduct. I would go after all them; everyone who participated in reaching the suspension action.

    So…if a young kid posts or likes the icon image from a movie that happens to have firearms or any kind of violence that too could be indicative of a potentially violent leaning on the part of the child who posts the movie name or icon, as well as on the part of any students who like said posts.

    Following this schools assumption based standards, if another child who is proud of their military service parent posts an image of their parent/soldier in combat gear, or just the letters; USMC, USA, or USAF etc., that kid also needs to be suspended.

    How about a picture of late 1800’s crossed cannons, is this a sign of a history buff or a killer?

    I bet a child posting an image of a patch or a flag which contains a scimitar is a blood thirsty butcher…even if the logo or image depicts the Shriners or is the Pakistani or Arabic national flag. You better suspend them as well.

    I hope a child posts a Captain America, or a Transformers icon. If that child does not get suspended I would sue the school as a concerned parent….

    Remember Joe McCarthy, and
    what happened on Feb 9, 1950???

    He thought he was doing what was in the public good also.

    Totalitarianism at its birth is what this represents, a school system that recognizes no limits to its authority as it strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life.

    This school is a terrifying example of what could happen in this country within a few years….extreme totalitarianism.

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